Patients, employees, visitors, and guests celebrated the Veterans Day holiday on Thursday, November 11 in the Mercy Health Saint Mary’s lobby with a ceremony that paid tribute to those who have served the United States of America in the Armed Forces.
The ceremony began with Joanna Bailey from the Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Spiritual Care department giving an opening prayer, followed by the singing of the National Anthem by Patient and Family Advisory Council Member Cassonya Carter.
“November is a month of Thanksgiving and it’s appropriate that we celebrate Veterans Day this month because we have so many reasons to thank our veterans,” said Matt Biersack, MD, president and interim chief medical officer of Mercy Health Saint Mary’s. “Many great men and women have put on a military uniform and have taken a pledge to defend our freedom, and for that we say thank you.”
The Grand Rapids Police Department (GRPD) Honor Guard also participated in the event. The GRPD Honor Guard was established in 1970 and currently has 30 active members. Each member goes through a selection process to become a part of the group, which is an additional duty on top of their regular GRPD assignments.
“We were glad to participate, and we are always honored to be asked to participate in any event — especially one as important as remembering our veterans,” said Lt. John Dorer, Grand Rapids Police Department.
The ceremony also included remarks from Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Senior Vice President of Operations Kurt MacDonald, who introduced the organization’s Military Veterans Healthcare program. The program is set to launch in early 2022.
“The goal of the Military Veterans Health Program is to provide active-duty military, veterans, and their families convenient access to high-quality, culturally sensitive, and people-centered health care specific to their needs,” said MacDonald. “Over the next few months, you will see and hear more about this program. We are excited to provide this extra care for our veterans and their families.”
The ceremony concluded with “Taps,” played on the trumpet by Grand Rapids Community College freshman, Adam Geesin.
Mercy Health has many veterans on staff, and we thank each one for their selfless service to our country.