[November 16, 2020 – Parker, CO] Rocky Vista University (RVU) hosted its 10th Annual Military Appreciation Ceremony on Friday, November 6th. The ceremony – held virtually over Zoom and hosted live for students, faculty, and staff from the Parker, Colorado and Ivins, Utah campuses – honored and celebrated the military service people in the RVU community, including future military physicians and veterans.
The ceremony began with an introduction by 2nd Lieutenant Dustin Halverson (Air Force), OMS II, and 1st Lieutenant Sean Lynch (Army) OMS II, Presidents of the RVU Chapter of the Student Association of Military Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons (SAMOPS) for the RVU-SU and RVU-CO campuses respectively. The Posting of Colors, a traditional flag ceremony, was then performed by Air Force Junior Reserve Officer’s Training Corps Cadets from Dixie High School, located in St. George, Utah: Caryn Krafczyk; Cavin McConkie; Jesus Ruiz; Jason Vasquez Hernandez; and Osmar Vasquez Hernandez. Singing the Star-Spangled Banner was vocalist Vanessa Adams, OMS II.
Thomas N. Told, DO, FACOFP dist., Dean of RVUCOM and veteran of the U.S. Army and Coast Guard, was then introduced by SD Halverson for a Military Healers tribute. The presentation honored military physicians, who have served and currently serve, by discussing the history of their contributions and roles to military and civilian medicine during times of war. He spoke of how wars paved the foundation for osteopathic medicine and how these innovations have forever altered medicine.
The RVU Color Guard presented the Missing Man/POW Remembrance Ceremony on the RVU-CO campus, a tradition that honors and recognizes the service of those missing in action, taken prisoner, or deceased. Narrated by Anthony J. LaPorta, MD, FACS, Course Director of the Office of Military Affairs at RVU and a veteran of the U.S. Army, the ceremony saw student doctors approach 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, viewers 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.
SD Lynch introduced the keynote speaker, RVU Alumnus, Major Charles Robert Hutchinson, DO ‘15, First Ranger, 3rd Battalion 75th Ranger Regiment. In his address, Dr. Hutchinson talked about what he had learned from previous keynote speakers, discussed his experiences at RVU, and expressed his “why” for choosing osteopathic medicine and how it has evolved over time. Clinton E. Adams, DO, FACHE, President and CEO of RVU and retired Rear Admiral in the U.S. Navy, presented the Anthony J. LaPorta Military Award of Excellence to Dr. Hutchinson, who was honored for his determination, initiative, outstanding leadership, and selfless perseverance.
During the ceremony, attendees also heard from six veterans, Airman 1st Class Robert M. Crawford, US Air Force; Captain William Chamberlin, UT Navy; Signalman 2nd Class Burke Waldron, US Navy; Sergeant Joe Kasper, US Army Air Corp; and Captain Jack Bilack, US Air Force. RVU’s student doctors from both campuses interviewed the veterans about their experiences, stories, and what service in the military has meant to them.
“We’d like to thank those veterans from all branches of the armed forces who joined us here today,” said Dr. Told. “To participate in this ceremony, to tell us their stories, and to make veterans day a little bit special. We appreciate your dedication and sacrifice during your service to this great nation.”
The ceremony concluded with the Retiring of the Colors, presented by members of SAMOPS – 2nd Lieutenant Reese Cooper (Air Force), OMS II; 2nd Lieutenant Steven York (Air Force), OMS I; and 2nd Lieutenant Logan Loomis (Air Force), OMS II.