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11/11/2020 Admin

MSK Celebrates Veterans Day

Originally recognized as “Armistice Day” to celebrate the end of World War I, Veterans Day is a time to recognize the women and men who have served in the United States Armed Forces.

Each year, MSK celebrates its veterans and employees in active duty by hosting breakfasts, lunches, and recognition ceremonies during Veterans Week at each of the institution’s sites. However, due to the pandemic, many of these in-person events have been canceled.

Adrian Granobles, Co-Leader of the Veterans Engaged Towards Employee Resources and Networking (VETERaN) Employee Resource Network (ERN) and Clinical Research Team Lead in Research and Technology Management, says that it has been a challenge to transition many VETERaN events to virtual platforms. Thankfully, he and the team have been able to rethink their processes and even collaborate with local veteran groups to ensure that MSK vets and active duty staff receive the recognition they deserve.

This year, MSK will host a Veterans Day virtual event, featuring President and CEO Craig Thompson, MD – who is himself a veteran, having served in the U.S. Navy – on November 11 to thank our veterans and employees in active duty.

Eric Froehlich– From the Marines to MSK

One MSK employee who will be sure to participate in today’s recognition events is Eric Froehlich, Nursing Clinical Analyst in Nursing Informatics and veteran of the Marine Corps. Since joining MSK, he has made it his personal mission to honor other veterans.

“Veterans’ Day offers us an opportunity to reflect about veterans for a moment,” says Mr. Froehlich. “We all live very busy lives and don’t always think or appreciate what others are doing for us to be free and safe on a day-to-day basis, so thank a vet for their service.”

Finding Purpose

Mr. Froehlich grew up in the Bronx and on Long Island. He and his four siblings were very active, spending time outdoors fishing, boating, swimming, and more.

By age 10, he became interested in the military after meeting World War II veterans who were friends with his grandparents and visiting Washington D.C., including the Marine Corps War Memorial, during a family trip. He knew he wanted to join the military.

“It may sound cliché, but the sacrifice made by everyday people to protect and preserve our country was something I wanted to be part of,” he says.

The Marine Corps

In March 1992, Mr. Froehlich joined the U.S. Marine Corps, which sent him traveling around the globe. He was stationed at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina before being deployed to Okinawa, Japan in 1993. He joined UNITAS, a maritime training program in Latin America, in 1994, then the Marine Expeditionary Force and the NATO-led Implementation Force in Bosnia in 1995.  

Mr. Froehlich is grateful for the experiences he had, as well as the people he met along the way.

“When you join the military, it’s the first time that most of us are away from home and brought together in close environments to live together,” he explains. “It allows us to understand different cultures and to learn never to make assumptions about people. Globally, deployments allow us to see the world and appreciate what we have as opposed to what we don’t. Other than that, during my last year of service, I was a rappel master (someone who inspects helicopter rappelers for safety), so roping out of helicopters was always a blast.”

After the Marine Corps, he went on to study nursing and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from Molloy College in 2003 and a master’s in healthcare informatics from Adelphi University in 2017.

 

Finding MSK

Mr. Froehlich joined MSK in December 2019 as a Nursing Clinical Analyst in Nursing Informatics, where he works on the development, management, and maintenance of alarm systems and mobile communications for nurses. He is also part of the Voalte Secure Clinical Communication team within DigITs.

“Besides being struck by MSK’s reputation as a national and global leader in cancer care and research, after meeting with the project managers of Nursing Informatics, I was impressed with how integrated DigITs is throughout MSK,” he says.

Shortly after he started at MSK, he joined the VETERaN Steering Committee after learning about the group during New Employee Orientation.

However, three months into his new role, MSK – and all of New York City – was in the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic and many of the events and activities VETERaN had planned were put on hold. Mr. Froehlich says that, despite the change in platforms, he is eager to honor veterans and active duty employees this year.

“The flexibility and resilience the committee have shown since March are a testament to their teamwork, passion, and dedication to ensuring some form of tradition and celebration takes place for veterans at MSK,” he says.

 

 

Thank a Vet

When Mr. Froehlich thinks of Veterans Day, he is reminded of his experiences in the Marine Corps as well as the veterans he knows and works alongside today.

His advice to staff: “I would like for all staff members to thank a veteran or active duty military member, and tell them about the VETERaN ERN committee,” he says. “Let them know who we are – maybe they would want to help or volunteer in some capacity to help impact the lives of other veterans.”

If you would like to support veterans and get involved in the VETERaN ERN, email hrmveteran@mskcc.org. You don’t need to be a veteran yourself to join.

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