Valley hospital honors those who serve our nation

PHOENIX (KSAZ) - In the early morning hours as the sun rose over the city, there was a patriotic gathering outside Maricopa Medical Center celebrating our nation's veterans.

"I'm a Vietnam veteran, I served during it," Mary Lou Parker said.

Mary Lou Parker enlisted right after high school, complete nursing school thanks to the GI Bill, and today serves as a business manager at the hospital.

"They honor us and it's nice because we have a purpose for the community," she said.

The CEO of Maricopa County Integrated Health Systems says more than 200 veterans are employed here and that's the reason for the flag-raising ceremony.

"As they served our country, they're now in public service to our community through their work here at MIHS and we're just so honored and blessed to be able to recognize them," Steve Purves said.

"Whether it's federal, state or the community of Arizona, it's really just reaching out to the underserved population and giving all that we can give," Kara Martin said.

Kara Martin is a registered nurse, but she's also a medic for the 161st Air Refueling Wing with the Arizona National Guard.

She describes today's ceremony as humbling, and the comraderies she shares with so many coworkers is irreplaceable.

"I look in the crowd, we all served for practically the same reason to preserve what we have here in the U.S.," she said.