Veterans Day holds a special meaning for Olympic Medical Center providers and staff

Veterans Day holds a special meaning for Olympic Medical Center providers and staff

Providers and staff apply their expertise in health care after having served in the military

Veterans Day is a time of remembrance across the United States, an opportunity to honor the sacrifices of servicemen and women, past and present.

For so many in Clallam County, where nearly 10,000 residents have served in the military, their connection to Veterans Day is particularly personal.

That is especially true at Olympic Medical Center, where many providers and staff are now applying their expertise in health care after having served in the military. Here are a few snapshots from OMC employees who served in locales, near and far.

Dr. Carleen Bensen served in the U.S. Army from 1975-80, completing her tenure as a captain at William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso, Texas. Her time with the U.S. Army continued a legacy of military service in her family.

Dr. Bensen’s father, Carl Tortello, second from left, and his three brothers, Nicky, Pete and Frank, after returning from World War II in 1945. Carl received the Purple Heart.

Her father, Carl Tortello, and his three brothers, Nicky, Pete and Frank, all served in World War II. Carl was wounded at the Battle of the Bulge and received the Purple Heart.

“I’m pretty proud of the fact that I came from a family of veterans,” Dr. Bensen said.

Dr. Bensen, who has practiced urology in the community since 1992, relates that her own experience in the U.S. Army prepared her well for her career in medicine.

“Everything I know about how to be a good doctor – how to give a presentation, how to take care of patients, everything I know – is really from my military background,” Dr. Bensen said.

Dr. Bradley Houston, who has been with the Olympic Medical Physicians Walk-In Clinic since 2017, had two stints of service with the U.S. Air Force, first from 1978-82 and again from 1996-2000. During his second stint, he was a flight surgeon with the 170th Fighter Squadron, including a three-month deployment to Kuwait in 2000.

I’m always thankful for everybody else that was in the military along with me,” Dr. Houston said.

Dr. Houston draws on his time in the U.S. Air Force in his practice at OMC today, helping him to stay calm and composed.

“The military helped me with that, stay focused on task, be very level, objective,” Dr. Houston said.

Jill Corson, now in her fourth year as an ARNP in neurology with OMP, was an active duty nurse in the U.S. Army for eight years, spanning 2000-08. She was originally stationed in Germany before serving in Texas, Georgia and Colorado.

Corson explains how being stationed overseas prepared her to work in her current role at OMC.

“It’s helped me a great deal,” Corson said. “I think I understand folks and I’m able to relate to them, and that helps build a rapport that patients need with their provider.”

The principles of teamwork and collaboration that she honed during her time with the U.S. Army hold true in Corson’s current workplace. “There’s a dedication to serve others, serve the community and the country that veterans bring to the workplace,” Corson said.

Marcus Spooner was an Air Frame Mechanic in the U.S. Marine Corps for five years, stationed in San Diego from 2000-05 and serving three tours to Japan, Kuwait and Iraq. A native of Portland, Spooner has worked at OMC for 13 years, including the last 11 years in a row, currently as a Cardiac Sonographer in the Heart Center.

“Veterans Day is a good day for the country, probably more specifically, the youth in our country, to recognize the service that the military and veterans have done for the country,” Spooner said. “I think it’s a good opportunity to educate children that we have a history.”