Iraq-Flown Flag Presented to RAMC
article contributed by Alicia Abercrombie, Reedsburg Times Press
An American flag flown in Iraq in honor of a Reedsburg resident has found a new home at Reedsburg Area Medical Center.
Major Kurt Southworth of the Wisconsin National Guard presented the flag to RAMC on Thursday afternoon as a thank-you for the help the hospital gave his wife, Melissa, director of surgical services at RAMC, during his deployments over the years.
Kurt flew the flag on his plane in March 2011 during his last deployment to Iraq.
“It gave me a sense of relief to know that (Melissa) could stay with the kids and work and not lose her position while I was gone,” Kurt said. “I just want to thank the staff for making this possible.”
That support also led Kurt to nominate RAMC for the Patriot Award, given by the Department of Defense Employer Support of the Guard and Reserves Agency. RAMC also received that award on Thursday.
Roger Cole, Wisconsin military outreach coordinator, said that RAMC goes far above the requirements for supporting Guard members because the staff makes sure to support family members, as well.
“Whenever someone leaves, someone else has to pick up the slack. And that can be difficult for families and employers,” Cole said.
Kurt said he has worked as a member of the military for 21 years. His and his family’s experience with RAMC is unique across the Midwest.
“People always identify with the soldiers, but the true heroes are the ones that have to remain behind,” Kurt said.
“I’ve been in the military for 21 years and a commander for 10, and RAMC has the highest level of support of anywhere I’ve been.”