Saturday, October 20, 2007

A True Hero

While there are thousands of military personnel that lay their lives on the line each and every day, I have a personal hero. Maj. Phillip McIntire. To me he's just 'Phil;' but to so many children in Iraq he's an angel.

I had the pleasure of getting to know Phil prior to his tour of duty in Iraq. He's an employee of our parent company Trinity Health and served as a corporate consultant as we developed a new department in our health system.

As the situation in Iraq intensified Phil was called to serve as a Major in the Army Reserves. With pride and yet a great deal of fear for his safety his colleagues at Trinity Health bid him farewell praying for his safe and quick return.

Employees of Trinity Health supported Phil and his family throughout the duration of his service. We frequently collected money, bought holiday gifts, paid for home repairs, paid for home maintenance services and the list goes on and on. We wanted Phil to concentrate on staying safe, not having to worry about his family at home. It was our turn to support Phil as he always supported us in a variety of professional roles.

During his time in Iraq, Phil and his men were fighting furiously each and every day. Through the battles, Phil and his men saw that more needed to be done. The military action was only accomplishing 'part' of the mission.. there were children who needed so much more.

Phil and his men during their off hours supported numerous children in war torn Iraq. Their secondary mission, which was a personal mission, became about the children and families. Through a variety of initiatives they provided education, recreation, and support to the families they 'adopted.' They assisted with the necessities of life that provided a greater sense of security to these families that lived with daily violence. Phil and his men wanted to bring a greater sense of security to these families... especially the children.

Phil did return safely after his extended tour. Trinity Health was waiting for him with open arms and he is now back to work.

Phils life changing experiences on the front lines in Iraq have now provided Phil with a new mission: Sharing his story. Phil spends his own personal time doing presentations at local churches, civic organizatons and throughout Trinity Health. His message is one not of all the violence, but the hope. His message is about going the extra mile to do what in your heart you know is the right thing. His message is about mentoring children, mentoring families on how to have a better life. His message is about compassion.

It will be my honor on November 15 to introduce Phil to members of our health system when he shares his story during a 'lunch and learn' program.
Regardless of ones 'politics,' it is easy to be proud of a man like Phil.

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