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Times Record: Womack Honors Veterans At Golden Living Event

Justin Bates

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Fort Smith, November 7, 2014 | comments

One of the greatest pieces of the American fabric is that the nation’s military is made up of those who volunteer themselves in order to serve and protect the country, U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, R-Rogers, said at a Thursday Veterans Day event.

The ceremony at the Golden Living administrative center in Fort Smith was held to honor of the company’s veteran employees, the veteran residents the company serves, as well as all veterans.

Womack said he felt “honored and privileged” to celebrate the occasion and applauded those in attendance who offered their services to the country.

“Our nation has the best capacity to impose its will on its adversaries, and it’s all voluntary,” Womack said. “People volunteer to put themselves in harm’s way on behalf of their country. It’s an honor and a privilege to be in your presence.”

He said as the nation approaches Tuesday’s national Veterans Day holiday, it is important to recognize all branches of the military and those who have served.

Womack spoke of one of his heroes, 1st Lt. Alonzo H. Cushing, whose defense of Cemetery Ridge at the Battle of Gettysburg helped to change the tide of the Civil War. On Thursday, President Barack Obama posthumously awarded Cushing the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Womack also told the story of Army Sgt. Brendan Marrocco, who in 2009 was injured in an attack that caused him to have both arms and both legs amputated. Through a 13-hour surgery in 2012, Womack said, Marrocco was able to have a rare bilateral arm transplant courtesy of deceased donors.

“What does it say about our country that (injuries such as Marrocco’s) could pique the interest of some of the brightest minds, to take cadaver arms and make them be able to work like his own?” Womack asked, adding that Maracco has since received prosthetic legs. “That young man can now stand at attention and salute with someone else’s arms, this great country.”

Womack, himself is a veteran who enlisted in the Arkansas Army National Guard and served for 30 years until he retired in 2009 as a colonel, commended Golden Living for acknowledging its veteran employees.

“It’s important for corporations like this one to honor the men and women in uniform, many of whom still serve in the Reserves, while still working and providing for their families,” Womack said.

Womack presented an American flag that was once flown over the U.S. Capitol to Ron Fravel, an Army veteran and 28-year employee of Golden Living, to honor the company’s veteran employees. Fravel said the company plans to display the flag in the front lobby.

Womack also presented each of the more than 20 veteran employees in attendance with his congressional challenge coin as an extra token of appreciation.

Thursday’s ceremony coincides with the company’s yearlong celebration of 50 years of service.

The Golden Living family of companies has more than 40,000 employees who provide health care to more than 60,000 patients across 21 states, according to a news release.


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