by David J. McIntyre, Jr.
President and CEO, TriWest Healthcare Alliance
"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty."
This Medal of Honor citation is a powerful summation of what our brave men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces face when they sign up to serve their country. The sacrifices they make in defense of America's freedoms are extensive. Many lose their lives in combat. Many suffer war-related injuries that affect their health years or even decades later. Many struggle with trauma that causes their mental health, relationships and family affairs to deteriorate.
Hundreds of thousands of Service members have died in combat. Most recently, according to the Washington Post's Faces of the Fallen, 6,805 men and women have lost their lives during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. We honor them all—from current and past wars—for their dedication to their country and their conviction to keep America strong.
For 18 years, TriWest has had the privilege of better understanding and supporting the military's health care needs. We have served active duty Service members, retirees and their families with our commitment of doing "Whatever It Takes!" to ensure they receive the best care possible. Today, we are proud to serve over half of the Veterans eligible for care in our country, offering a high-quality network of providers within Veterans' communities, close to their homes, even in rural areas.
Quality, timely health care is part of the backbone of our military community. Without access to primary, specialty and behavioral health care, we put at risk those who are injured or suffer trauma when they return home. An unacceptable fate. Our focus always has been and always will solely be on the health and wellbeing of our nation's heroes. It's what we do in support of what they do—put themselves in harm's way to defend all that America stands for, past, present and future.
This Memorial Day, my family and I will remember those who died serving their country. I know employees of TriWest will do the same, as many of them are former military or family of Service members—some who have lost loved ones in combat. Collectively, we thank the men and women of the Armed Forces, those who have fallen, and those who have endured.
"The enemy killed me. I came back, ran a marathon, completed a mud run and jumped from a plane. I won't ever quit. I am just getting started," says Retired Marine Lance Cpl. Kyle Carpenter (to receive a Medal of Honor on June 9, 2014). (CNN)