Dr. Ray Workman won’t be celebrating Memorial Day this year at a local remembrance or firing up the backyard grill.

Instead, Workman, a vascular surgeon with Novant Health Vascular Specialists in Winston-Salem, will spend the holiday at his second job – as a colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve, stationed at a remote forward operating base in Afghanistan.

“We will likely discuss what it means to each of us and raise a nonalcoholic beer to those who have gone before us and given their lives for our freedom,” Workman said of his holiday plans. “But our routine will not vary much, as our mission is 24/7.”

Workman is just one of many U.S. military veterans on the Novant Health team – men and women who honed their skills in service and sometimes combat. That military experience, they say, is serving them well as they care for patients and assist the organization during the battle with COVID-19. And it’s given them a special appreciation for Memorial Day, which honors men and women who have died while serving in the military.

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