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Healthwatch 16: Geisinger veterans serve country, community

Newswatch 16's Nikki Krize explains how Geisinger supports its veteran employees in this week's Healthwatch 16 report.

DANVILLE, Pa. — Many Geisinger employees not only serve their community but also serve our country in the military.

Dr. David Parker is a bariatric surgeon at Geisinger Medical Center and is also part of a trauma surgical team in the U.S. Army Reserves. He recently spent four months overseas, treating military and civilians in Syria.

"Feel pretty confident doing that with my military training, but then being able to come back home and jump into my normal more elective bariatric practice," Dr. Parker said.

Dr. Parker is one of more than 750 veterans at Geisinger. More than 100 of those vets still serve in the military, in the National Guard or Army Reserves.

"You're always a little bit worried about leaving your civilian job and coming back, but they certainly reassure you and make it more of a welcoming environment," Dr. Parker said.

"His colleagues will tell you the skills and the experience he has in the military help him in his job at Geisinger," said Chris Grill, Geisinger's program manager for military and veteran affairs.

Grill says Geisinger has programs and benefits in place to support employees who are veterans to make it easier for them to serve our country. One example is paid military leave.

"When they're called to deploy, they don't have to worry about work and what's going on with Geisinger. They can focus on their job downrange knowing that we are ready and waiting when they come back from that training event or from that deployment," Grill said.

"Patients of mine from here were relaying messages to nurses like, 'We hope he's OK,' and, 'We can't wait to see him back.' That was neat and really exciting," Dr. Parker said.

Watch more Healthwatch 16 stories on YouTube.