Veterans Day 2022: Three Milford Regional Vets Share Their Stories of Service

Tom McNulty, Stephen Priest and Kevin McManus

Veterans Day is a time to reflect upon the service that all military members have provided in the history of this country. At Milford Regional Medical Center we have veterans who can be found across many of our various departments. They come from all walks of life and share a common trait, serving our country. We spoke with three of our veterans about their service, what it means to work at MRMC, and what they’re reflecting on this Veterans Day.

Tom McNulty – Volunteer

Can you tell us about your service?

“In 1964 I went into the Army. I went into a specific part of the Army called the ‘Army Security Agency.’ We dealt with intelligence stuff. That’s an easy way to say it. I went to Vietnam in 1964. I spent 13 months there and came back to the States and then stayed back in the States for about a year and then I went off to the Philippines for 16 to 18 months. I had a good time, learned a lot, and it also gave me a career move to work with the CIA afterward. I worked for them for a few years, mostly in the United States. I went to Iran for about a year, just before the hostage crisis. I was not one of them. 

I decided there was more money in the commercial world and my wife decided she wanted to move home. She was a CIA person too. We moved to Massachusetts and we’ve been here ever since.” 

What do you enjoy about working at Milford Regional?

“I think it’s helping people. There’s many times where we’re out and around doing errands. We’ll come across people who we can kind of tell are lost. We’ll take them somewhere or give them the right directions. At the same time the other jobs I’ve had in greeting, both in Imaging and now the Hill lobby, I find that very interesting because people often times they come in and they need some help finding someplace to go. It’s very positive to help people and that’s the motivation for volunteering, to help people. All of the clinical folks around us, they’re helping people. So us who have no clinical training get a chance to help people in our very small ways.” 

Is there anything you’re reflecting on this Veteran’s Day?

“Probably the fact that I was in the Army from 1964 to 1968, so those times my fellow veterans that were in Vietnam, we keep in touch and we exchange emails about the craziest things. I also think we remember who we were and what we did then and say ‘Okay, we did our time.’”

Stephen Priest – Volunteer

Can you tell us about your service?

“I was in the Navy for three-and-a-half years. I was in Norfolk, Virginia, that’s the base I was at. I’ve been over to Vietnam. I’ve been to quite a few places and it’s a good experience because what happened for myself being in the service, it kind of was a kick in the rear end to pick up after myself. That type of thing, you’re responsible for your own area and it really helped me grow up a lot, being in that kind of situation. My father was in the Navy, so I joined the Navy, but it made him feel very, very good. I don’t know how to put too much words into everything, but it’s like anything else, it just kind of rounded me off as a person, you might say.”

What do you enjoy about working at Milford Regional?

“I work in Endoscopy and I wheel people down. I’m 75 years old and I don’t feel old, I don’t feel rusty or anything. But in wheeling people down, this is my ‘sitting on a park bench feeding the pigeons, talking to someone.’ And you get to talk to different people, you’ve got a captive audience. Whether you talk about volunteering, health, sports, no matter what, there’s always something that people want to talk about. It opens a door. No matter how you look at it, if I sat on my butt all day long I wouldn’t be happy.”

Is there anything you’re reflecting on this Veteran’s Day?

“I’m a disabled veteran and I always march with the DAV disabled vets. When I do it all the time I do it with the thought of two of my friends that got killed. I do it for them. It always makes me feel happy that in as much I grew up in Waltham, I have them on my mind. I have no connections with them at all, but it’s just that it’s what was happening at my time in my life, and you’ve got to be realistic. They died for their country. It’s the least I can do.”

Kevin McManus – RN – Endoscopy

Can you tell us about your service?

“I joined the Air Force when I was 17, prior to graduating from high school. So after I graduated from high school I was on a plane to Lackland. I stayed active duty for a few years and then transferred to the Guard and went back to school. That brought me to my nursing career. I think it was a gift for me to join the military. I’m actually kind of considered a disabled veteran because I lost some hearing in the military. It was a great experience and I’m proud of the work that we did. I’m grateful that I never in any major conflict.” 

What do you enjoy about working at Milford Regional?

“So far it’s been great. It’s a fast-paced, smart group of people, talented gastroenterologists and nurses. Our technicians are top-notch. It’s been a great experience so far. I think my service impacted the way I organize my nursing care. Starting at a very young age, the military is very regimented and organized, so brought out a little of my Type-A personality and allowed me to maintain those organizational skills throughout my career. I spent a lot of my career, almost the last 12 years in management, so I just stepped out of a management role to join the Milford team to get back into patient care. So far it’s been pretty exciting to get myself side-by-side with the patients again.”

Is there anything you’re reflecting on this Veteran’s Day?

“I think about people that are still out there that are doing the work every day. Even though we aren’t directly in a conflict right now it’s dangerous work and I have a lot of respect for those people, a lot of them young who don’t know what they’re really getting into until they’re in it.”

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