Cleveland, OH,
14:46 PM

Honoring All Who Served: MetroHealth holds special recognition for employee veterans

MetroHealth honored employee veterans during a special program Monday morning. The event was an opportunity to thank those who have served, and for staff who have family members in the military to pay tribute to their loved ones, too.

MetroHealth has more than 200 employee veterans. During the event dozens of them – representing various military branches – had the chance to fellowship and to share stories with each other. Alan Nevel, Senior Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer, thanked them for their service.

The program was sponsored by the Office of Inclusion and Diversity and the Veterans Employee Resource Group (ERG). “We all come from different backgrounds, said John Leahy, a pharmacist and Navy reservist who has a leadership role within the ERG. “To get us all in one room and to be able to put a face with the name and to network is a big win.”

Kelly Gilhousen, RN, is a Navy veteran who has worked in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for 23 years. She said MetroHealth’s Veterans Day program was special. “When you come into a room and you’re surrounded by veterans … people who are willing to lay down their lives for everyone and for this great country…” she said as her eyes began to fill with tears. “…it’s an honor to work for an organization that recognizes the sacrifices of veterans and their families.”

Sgt. Major Tim O’Connor from the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department served as the program’s guest speaker. He focused on the relationship between veterans and the medical community. He discussed topics such as post-traumatic stress disorder, and encouraged veterans in attendance to seek support if needed as they transition back into their lives at home. And, he encouraged medical providers to continue striving toward understanding the unique needs of veterans.

O’Connor, an Army reservist, also shared his personal reflections. One of the scariest days for him was September 11, 2005. While he was serving in Afghanistan, his father, Tim Sr., had been seriously injured in an explosion back home in Twinsburg, Ohio. Tim Sr. was flown by Metro Life Flight to receive the care he needed. Tim Sr. was in the audience at the Veterans Day event.

He thought he was there to support his son, but he was in for a special surprise – meeting Metro Life Flight staff. Both men became emotional as they thanked crew members. Afterward, they toured the helipad.

About the MetroHealth System

Founded in 1837, MetroHealth is leading the way to a healthier you and a healthier community through service, teaching, discovery, and teamwork. Cuyahoga County’s public, safety-net hospital system, MetroHealth meets people where they are, providing care through five hospitals, four emergency departments and more than 20 health centers. Each day, our nearly 9,000 employees focus on providing our community with equitable healthcare — through patient-focused research, access to care, and support services — that seeks to eradicate health disparities rooted in systematic barriers. For more information, visit