[November 15, 2019] Rocky Vista University (RVU) hosted its annual Military Appreciation Ceremony on each campus. The ceremonies honored and celebrated the military service people in the RVU community, including future military physicians and honored guests.
Following the posting of the colors by the Color Guard (comprised of RVU military students), guests were welcomed by Clinton E. Adams, DO, FACHE, President and CEO of RVU and retired Rear Admiral in the U.S. Navy.
In Colorado, Thomas N. Told, DO, FACOFP dist., Dean of RVUCOM and veteran of the U.S. Army and Coast Guard, spoke of the role of military healers throughout history and the medical innovations that were introduced during armed conflict, such as water purification, chlorination, and inflatable hospitals. Next, Captain K. Dean Gubler, MC, (Ret.), gave the keynote address and recognized those who have served or currently serve in the armed forces, but who are often not recognized for the sacrifices they have made upon their return. Capt. Gubler also shared the challenges he and others faced while trying to become osteopathic physicians in the military. Finally, he expressed gratitude to those who paved the way for the profession’s acceptance in the military. In Southern Utah, the keynote address was delivered by Lieutenant General Douglas J. Robb, Air Force, (Ret.). Veterans from each community were recognized for their service with the RVU Challenge Coin, given to them by RVU military students.
Missing Man/POW Remembrance Ceremony
The RVU Color Guard then presented the Missing Man/POW Remembrance Ceremony, a tradition that honors and recognizes the service of those missing in action, taken prisoner, or deceased. Student doctors approached a candlelit table which had been set with four place settings, each representing a branch of the military: Marines, Army, Air Force, and Navy. As the Color Guard placed their hats upon the empty plates, guests learned of the significance of the items on the table: the white cloth, a symbol of purity; a single red rose, a reminder of loved ones and friends; a lighted candle, the hope for their return; and empty chairs, signifying their absence in our lives.
Anthony J. LaPorta Order of Military Excellence Awards
The ceremony concluded with the presentation of the Anthony J. LaPorta Order of Military Excellence. This award was given to Capt. Gubler and Major General Philip Volpe, MC, in Colorado and to Lt. Gen. Robb in Southern Utah. The award is given to people who are recognized for their unique and significant contributions to military medicine.
As a leader in the field of trauma and surgical critical care, Capt. Gubler was the head of the Division of General Surgery at the Naval Regional Medical Center in San Diego, California. MG Volpe has been being an invaluable contributor to RVU’s Intensive Surgical and Trauma Skills Course, in addition to thirty years of distinguished service which includes two purple hearts and the role of Command Surgeon for the Battle of Mogadishu.
Lt. Gen. Robb was honored for his service in the military and as an exceptional osteopathic physician. He has spent the past 20 years in the practice of aerospace medicine in support of Air Force, joint, and coalition aviation forces, and has been a proponent of RVU’s innovative teaching practices and research.