Back from Afghanistan: Doctor Smith Welcomed by PMC Staff

Taking Down his Ribbons

Taking Down his Ribbons

The yellow ribbons which have graced the entrance pillars of Prowers Medical Center in Lamar came down this morning, October 27, as Dr. James Smith returned to Lamar from his three month deployment with the National Guard in Afghanistan.

Welcome Home Reception for Dr. Smith

Welcome Home Reception for Dr. Smith


Several dozen staff members including Chief Executive Officer Craig Loveless and PMC board members Julie Branes and Connie Brase were on hand to welcome the surgeon on his first day back on the job. Dr. Smith cut down the ribbons himself after the brief welcoming ceremony.

He’s been busy since his return to the U.S., also spending ten days in Haiti at a church supported hospital at which he and his wife volunteer several weeks of their time every year. “I’m going to go back in January again, but this side trip was just to help out on some matters,” he explained.

Smith said he wasn’t really that busy for his latest deployment, explaining, “We’re starting to phase out our troop commitment over there, so I was more like a fireman waiting for something to develop instead of keeping busy all the time.” Smith was one of two surgeons working in a seven person trauma team.  “We were set up for a while at air bases in Bagram and Kandahar and for a brief period in a small outpost called Apache,” he told his well-wishers.  “We’re also at the point where the Afghanistan wounded troops were being directed to their own medical facilities as we’re phasing out more and more over there,” he stated.

He’s still on call with the National Guard, but has 18 months before his rotation comes up again. Smith said he isn’t sure where he may be posted next, but the need for surgeons will still exist.  That applies for Prowers Medical Center as well as CEO Loveless said that Dr. Swanson, who performed surgery at the hospital during Smith’s deployment, will be happy to see him in the hallways again.

By Russ Baldwin


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