On April 27, the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research celebrated the military and civilian service to the United States of the retired Maj. Mike Yates, USA. Yates, who for the past eleven years has worked at the USAISR, was recently diagnosed with stage IV abdominal cancer and is concluding his career with the Army that spanned service as an enlisted soldier, an officer and a Government contractor.
In a ceremony held at Brooke Army Medical Center, Yates was awarded the Order of Military Medical Merit, the William F. McManus Clinical Leadership Award and a Certificate of Appreciation.
In welcoming everyone to the ceremony, Col. Lorne Blackbourne, commander, USAISR, said "Today, we are recognizing Mike for his 32 years of Service to the Army Medical Department and the Nation. He has been with the USAISR for the past 11 years and has touched each and every one of us as the Mental Health Advanced Practice Nurse. Through education and experience, Mike was uniquely qualified for this position, but more importantly, he is an outstanding person. I can say that he is one of the finest men I have ever known and because of that, he has been able to provide invaluable support to our staff. It is therefore, a privilege to honor Mike Yates for his selfless service."
The first award Yates received was the William F. McManus Clinical Leadership Award which is presented annually by the USAISR to a person who exemplifies the values imparted by Col. William McManus, who was the chief, Clinical Division (Burn Center Director) at the USAISR from 1978 – 1995. Those values are excellence in the uncompromising quality of care provided; longevity in that for many years burn care is the primary focus of one’s professional life; and the provision of hands on patient care is focused on restoring patient health and function to burn patients. In making the presentation, Col. Lee Cancio, a burn center surgeon, outlined the many contributions of Yates and summarized by saying, "During the peak of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan he enabled us to maintain our morale despite the unprecedented operational tempo. Yates provides patient care in the broadest sense, directly impacting almost all of the staff. He exemplifies the values of excellence, longevity and hands on patient care."
Blackbourne then presented Yates the Order of Military Medical Merit, recognizing his years of Service to the Army Medical Department and the Nation. The Order of Military Medical Merit is a private organization that was founded by the Commanding General of the U.S. Army Health Services Command in 1982. The goal of the Order is to recognize excellence and promote fellowship and esprit de corps among Army Medical Department personnel. In making the presentation, it was noted that "Membership in the Order denotes distinguished service, which, has been the hallmark of Yates’ illustrious career and membership in the Order is a significant honor and reflects a career of Service that made a difference to the Burn Center, the Institute of Surgical Research, the Army Medical Department, and the Armed Forces of the United States. "
Yates was then presented the Certificate of Appreciation by Lt. Col. Booker King, the acting director of the Burn Center. In making the presentation, King noted "Mr. Yates focused on us so we could focus on our patients. There is nothing we can give him to express our gratitude, but this is a small token of our appreciation."
In thanking the audience, Yates expressed his appreciation to the men and women of the Institute of Surgical Research for all they do. He also took the opportunity to encourage those present to live by the three missions he adheres too, "First, get to heaven, second get somebody else to heaven, and third, do good."