The Honor Flight of Southern New Mexico held their annual reunion on the BCOM campus in early December. This non-profit organization was “created solely to honor America’s war veterans for all their sacrifices. We transport our heroes, at no cost to them, to Washington, D.C. to reflect and be honored at their memorials.” Veterans that served in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War are eligible for an Honor Flight trip to the nation’s capital.
During the reunion’s opening ceremony, BCOM student Alexander Lam, who is currently serving as a second lieutenant in the US Air Force while attending medical school, led the pledge of allegiance.
BCOM President John L. Hummer, himself a veteran who served eight years in the US Army Adjutant General Corps, also spoke at the event saying, “On behalf of our college, thank you for your service and welcome. People have been thanking us for hosting you, but this is an honor for us. I cannot think of a better event that brings honor to this college than having you here today.”
Founding Dean George Mychaskiw, II, DO, is also a veteran who served eight years in the US Army Medical Corps. He followed up by highlighting the significant role of osteopathic physicians in the armed forces, noting that osteopaths have been serving since the early days of the Vietnam conflict and that they, to this day, serve disproportionately in the military as compared to medical doctors (MDs). Dr. Mychaskiw added, “You may remember a Newsweek magazine cover from several years ago about a young surgeon in Fallujah who had set up a battalion aide station and saved the lives of many Marines by intense medical therapy at the scene of their injuries. The title of the article was ‘Hero MD.’ Well, they didn’t get it quite right. That young man was an osteopathic physician, a neurological surgeon: Hero DO.”
Honor Flight’s Operations Coordinator Kathy Olson said hosting the reunion on the BCOM campus exceeded their expectations and she hopes they can make it an annual occurrence, and perhaps even host their annual pre-flight meeting at the college as well. “I heard so many compliments about the program and the venue from our veterans, particularly those who had been to many of our reunions in the past. I cannot say enough about Jeff Harris from BCOM. He helped put on this event like it was his own. He really took it to heart and acted with such great humility, stepping in and doing whatever needed to be done from carrying boxes to using his cell phone flashlight to usher in latecomers. We are so appreciative of BCOM and Jeff’s hard work.”
Learn more about Honor Flight of Southern New Mexico and find out how you can sponsor a veteran at: honorflightnm.org