NIH Honors Veterans’ Sacrifices at Ceremony
NIH honored the sacrifices of veterans from five armed service branches and the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps at the 2016 NIH Veterans Day Celebration. The event was held Nov. 9 in Kirschstein Auditorium, Natcher Bldg.
The celebration featured talks by NIH principal deputy director Dr. Lawrence Tabak and a decorated Navy veteran who now works for the Federal Aviation Administration. The event also included a remembrance honoring service members who are no longer with us.
Tabak thanked veterans and their families for their tremendous sacrifices to preserve our freedom. He noted that NIH employs 969 veterans—58 of whom have a disability.
“Our agency has a historic and unique tie to the armed forces dating back to the 1887 creation of the Laboratory of Hygiene for bacteriologic investigation at the Marine Hospital on Staten Island,” he said.
The hospital was part of the Marine Hospital Service, which was the predecessor to the PHS. Today, Tabak said, PHS Commissioned Corps officers remain important members of the NIH family, contributing to vital research efforts.
“We actively recruit veterans because we value the skills and vision that veterans bring to our workforce,” he said.
Navy Rear Admiral (ret.) Annie B. Andrews gave the ceremony’s keynote address. After 32 years in the Navy, she is currently the FAA’s assistant administrator for human resource management.
She said the FAA mission is to provide “the safest and most efficient aerospace system in the world.” That means protecting 785 million passengers each year. In addition, FAA now regulates commercial space transportation and unmanned aircraft systems—also known as “drones.”
To fulfill its mission, the FAA needs engineers, computer scientists, business analysts and more. And that’s where Andrews comes in. It’s her job to attract and retain the best-qualified employees, many of whom are veterans. Of the 45,000 FAA workers, more than 15,000 are veterans.
“The FAA hires more veterans than any other agency except for the Department of Defense,” she said.
Andrews said veterans are mission-driven, committed, resourceful, creative, flexible and innovative. They can also solve problems and think on their feet.
“Veterans Day isn’t just a day for veterans,” Andrews concluded. “It’s a day for all Americans. It’s a day to remember past struggles.”
Before Tabak and Andrews spoke, veterans from the Navy, Army, Coast Guard, Air Force and Marines took part in the Table of Remembrance ceremony—the tradition of setting an empty table to honor fallen, missing or imprisoned military service members.
The NIH Veterans Day Celebration was organized by the NIH veteran recruitment and retention force in partnership with the Office of Human Resources.