February 26 2008 - LTC Fernandez Accepts SAR EMS Award

LTC Fernandez Accepts SAR EMS Award

On Tuesday, 22 May 2007, Lieutenant Colonel Luis G. Fernandez, commanding officer of the Texas State Guard Medical Brigade (MRC), Tyler Medical Response Group (TMRG) located in Tyler, Texas, became the first recipient of the Sons of the American Revolution Emergency Medical Services Commendation Award.

Tom Miller, retiring president of the SAR’s Captain William Barron Chapter No. 25, and Bobby Davidson, incoming president of the chapter, presented the award during a dinner reception held in the historic Woman’s Building in Tyler.

The award, established in 2007, was presented to LTC Fernandez for his outstanding accomplishments in the many arenas of trauma response serving Tyler and the surrounding East Texas area.

A nationally recognized trauma surgeon, LTC Fernandez has most recently contributed his talent and exceptional expertise as Director of Trauma Surgery, Trauma Surgeon-in-Chief, Surgical Director of the Surgical Intensive Care Unit, and Director of the Surgical Step-down Unit at Trinity Mother Frances Hospital in Tyler. By appointment of the Governor of Texas, the lieutenant colonel is also a member of GETAC, the Governors, EMS and Trauma Advisory Council. The 14 member panel is composed of respected members representing the many aspects of the trauma care community.  The committee, working in a collaborative, team approach helps provide input to the Texas Department of State Health Services, state EMS needs, and to create a strategic plan in the development of EMS and Trauma Systems in the State of Texas.

Under his leadership and with the hard work of all of those involved in the care of the injured patient, the Trinity Mother Frances trauma program was created 15 years ago.  Since its inception, and the designation of Trinity Mother Frances Hospital as one of the first ACS recognized Level II, Major Trauma Centers in the State of Texas, the program has grown and applied evidence based, best practice standards that have helped save thousands of lives following traumatic injuries. Additionally, as a member of the  Trauma Service Area “G” Regional Advisory Council for the 19-county East Texas area, he has contributed in developing trauma and other programs and services to help improve the evolving network of East Texas area hospitals and EMS and trauma care in general, in the region.

But the real story is much deeper than the obvious prestige and accomplishment represented by the Sons of the American Revolution award. LTC Fernandez’ accomplishments are not limited to the emergency room.

Luis Guillermo Fernandez immigrated to the United States with his family from Cuba in 1965 at the age of 7 and his love for and commitment to America has continued to grow ever since. From the start, Fernandez dedicated himself to achieving his dreams and contributing his ability, talent, and education in every possible way to building America and helping his fellow Americans.

Pursuing his medical education at the University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida, and the Universidad Autonoma De Guadalajara, Mexico,  his focus has been surgery and medicine in the service of those in need. As part of his community service while a student at UADG, he served in the field with Mexican Army field hospital units in the desert regions of Mexico where he had his first experience with underserved persons who, in some cases, had never seen a physician in their entire life. Most recently, he has relived this same experience in the Rio Grande Valley region of Texas while serving in Operations Lone Star ’05 and ’06. He is currently scheduled to serve again in OLS ’07.

His association with great hospitals is impressive, having served at Loyola University Stritch School Of Medicine, University Of Illinois Program, MacNeal Hospital, University Of Illinois Metropolitan Group Hospitals, Northwestern University Lakeside Veterans Administration Hospital, Northwestern University Columbus Hospital, and Northwestern University Kings County Hospital, in various capacities as a surgeon in residence and on staff. Additionally, he declined an appointment to West Point, to serve a much higher cause, to help his family care for his father during his father’s serious illness at that time.  This he continued to do until his father’s death 5 years ago.

Fernandez has received more than 10 major awards associated with accomplishments in surgery, including the Listed-Consumers Research Council of America Guide to America’s Top Surgeons 2004. Additionally, he holds 4 board certifications, many other certifications and licensures, medical-related memberships; and numerous teaching positions. His work includes 23 research projects, of which 17 have been published and six are in preparation for publication. His Curriculum Vitae spans some 30 years and 30 pages, and his personal accomplishments include being bestowed the honor of Knight of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher, Under the protectorship of the Holy See and His Holiness, Pope John-Paul II, Pontiff of Rome.

Out of his love and dedication to America following the tragic events of September 11, 2001, Fernandez accepted the challenge of commanding a raw group of volunteers within a little known medical reserve group in deep East Texas. At the age of 47, when most surgeons of his caliber and level of accomplishment would be well within their right to focus on personal interests, Fernandez volunteered as a member of the Texas State Guard Texas Medical Rangers that has since distinguished itself as one of  the premier uniformed state defense force medical reserve organization in the United States.

Rising to the challenge, Fernandez recruited, mentored, and groomed the officers and soldiers of Tyler Medical Response Group (TMRG) and commanded the group as they achieved national recognition by successfully establishing and managing special needs clinics during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. He has worked diligently to support local events and organizations and to bring TMRG into strong working relationships with local Texas State Guard, National Guard, and Civil Air Patrol units. For the third straight year, TMRG is preparing to support the Texas State Guard as they provide safety/security services for the Great East Texas Balloon Race in Longview, Texas. Within days of this deployment, many of the same TMRG soldiers will deploy in South Texas as part of the annual Operation Lone Star mission to bring medical care to thousands of underserved persons in the Rio Grande Valley.

But you will never hear LTC Fernandez say that he accomplished anything as an individual.

Instead, he never misses an opportunity to thank, compliment, and commend his superior officers and the soldiers under his command, insisting that among the greatest blessings in his life has been the opportunity to serve as a member of what he perceives to be the greatest team of individuals ever assembled to provide care and comfort for the benefit of those in need.

The officers and soldiers that serve with LTC Fernandez know that his door is always open without appointment, his mind is always open without reservation, his hand is always open in friendship, and his heart is always dedicated to the greater good of America and the people, freedom, opportunity, and dreams that this great country represents.

On 22 May 2007, Lieutenant Luis Fernandez quietly stepped up to the podium and humbly accepted the Emergency Medical Services Commendation Award from the Sons of the American Revolution in a short and, at times, emotion filled speech. But befitting the honor and sense of purpose that characterizes this surgeon’s commitment to the greater good, wherever it may take him, he took the moment to recognize his association with the Texas State Guard Medical Brigade (MRC) and America. He emphasized the importance of our mission as a team of healthcare service providers to deliver effective and compassionate care wherever and whenever it is needed.