PITTSBURG —  “We need to remember them each and every day, especially this day.”
Year after year, Via Christi selects hospital staff who have served their country to speak during its Veterans Day Ceremony.
Maj. Tim Stebbins, U.S. Army Reserve, Retired, had the honor of doing so this year and Frontenac students from Scout Troop 81 presented the colors at the ceremony. Scout members include: Tallon Bonine, Lucas Brummett, Alex Troth, Austin Duvall and Brady Stanley.
By the end of Stebbins’ speech about the veterans in his life who meant so much to him the crowd had tears in their eyes.
Hospital President Randy Cason said the Via Christi is honored to have Stebbins, who has worked at the hospital for approximately eight years and is from Lamar, Missouri. Stebbins is the hospital’s Emergency Room Medical Director.
Stebbins started his speech by thanking people in his life — family, friends and all who have served in the military.
Stebbins served in the Army for 28 years and retired Aug. 2016.
“I started my career as young troop in 1987 as a helicopter mechanic, which a lot of people are surprised about since I’m a doctor now but there is a lot of similarities,” he said.
Out of the 28 years he served, approximately 13 years were spent on active duty. He switched to Army Reserves in 2000, he then retired as commander of a unit in Joplin.
“I loved medicine at the time, I was EMT,” Stebbins said. “I was able to wiggle my way into the nursing program.
“That started to develop my career and led me to where I am today.”
When he switched to the Army reserves, he decided to be a doctor.
“The army has done a lot for me personally, I could have never achieved any of that,” Stebbins said.
Stebbins said Veterans Day is “a day to honor those who have served and those who have lost their lives serving for our country.”
“The catch phrase, ‘all gave some and some gave all,’ I’m not big on catch phrases but that one works really, really well,” he said. “I think it sums it up perfectly.
“It makes me think of my friends.”
After a short pause, Stebbins continued sharing why Veterans Day is so important to him — while holding back tears.
Stebbins thanked his friend, colleague and fellow veteran Captain Titus Weller, U.S. Army Reserve, retired,  for his service. He thanked Weller’s family too, for their time in the military.
He also mentioned his best friend, fellow veteran and barbecuing buddy Mark Tschida, Retired U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class who served for 20 years.
One dear friend, the late Jonathan Kamm, was a U.S. Army Staff Sgt. and squad leader when Stebbins was a “young troop.”
“He was a good friend of mine, he taught me and brought me up as a young troop and set me on my way,” Stebbins said.
Kamm was married and had recently adopted a son, but sadly was killed in action.
“He and his family gave everything for his country and I thank them,” he said teary eyed. “Those are the sacrifices we would give our country, a great nation and wonderful country that we have.
“It's because of guys and gals like that who join freely, serve freely and gave all freely for us.”
Stebbins asked people to remember, “those who have served, those who have gave some and those who gave all,” he said. “And also remember the family members who have supported each and every day and gave up so much as well.”
— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at spotter@morningsun.net or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.