3 Hospital Heroes Who Served
These are just a handful of the medical professionals who are proud to serve the men and women of our armed forces.
1. Capt. Greg Galezzi
You may have heard of Capt. Greg Galezzi — because his story is one of incredible perseverance.
In 2011, just weeks before he was scheduled to come home from a tour of duty in southeastern Afghanistan, Greg was wounded by a roadside bomb. Both of his legs had to be amputated above the knee, and his right arm was critically damaged.
As Greg told ABC News: "All I could do was scream."
But his soldiers saved him. After 50 surgeries, hours upon hours of physical therapy, and too many painful moments to count, Greg began to recover — and decided to turn his life to another calling of service. In 2017, he enrolled in Harvard Medical School: the only member of his class to use a wheelchair.
2. Dr. Jimmy Magee
"Running 26 miles isn’t any fun," says Dr. Jimmy Magee, "but there was nothing fun about fighting on Iwo Jima."
Dr. Magee, 58, professor of pediatrics at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, recently ran the 2018 Marine Corps Marathon. It's a race run by thousands every year in our nation’s capital — but it's uniquely special for Dr. Magee.
His father, Kenneth, fought in the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II, one of the most fierce of the Japanese theater — a fact that his son, who also served in the Marines, is rightfully proud of.
Making things extra special? The marathon, which Dr. Magee ran in 5:12:15 (good for 526th place in his division), ends in Virginia — just in front of the Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Va. Congrats, Dr. Magee!
3. Bessie Blount
You may never have heard of Bessie Blount. But her life story is absolutely remarkable: the story of a Black woman pioneer in veterans care.
Born in 1914, Bessie grew up in Virginia during the time of Jim Crow. She became a licensed physiotherapist in 1943 — right in the middle the U.S. involvement in World War II — and put her skills to use as a Red Cross volunteer, work that gave her face-to-face time with hundreds of injured soldiers.
It was then that a doctor told Bessie that the Army had been trying to produce a device that allowed soldiers with disabilities to feed themselves. And she got to work — staying up nights to develop, patent, and produce a device that allowed someone to bite down on a switch and have food delivered through a tube.
In an era where many Black women were subjected to domestic work due to the color of their skin, she could have profited from her discovery. Instead, Bessie passed on her invention without seeking financial gain. She did so with the intent of wanting to lift up the innovative contributions of Black women.
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