Red, white and blue decorated the room, an a capella group sang the Star Spangled Banner and a color guard presented the flags – all part of an All-American celebration for St. Edward Mercy emergency department physician and Army Reserve Lt. Col. Matt DuPree. After a four month deployment in Afghanistan, a large group of co-workers gathered to welcome Dr. DuPree home and thank him for his service.
“I’ve been called to active duty five times and never received a welcome home like this one,” said Dr. DuPree. “I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. I joined the Army Reserves to be a part of something bigger than myself. I feel the same way about working at St. Edward Mercy.”
DuPree was deployed to Afghanistan November 11, 2011 as part of the 94th combat support hospital. He arrived at Camp Salerno Thanksgiving day. The base is a forward combat surgical post in the northeast corner of Afghanistan, eight miles from the border of Pakistan. As a member of the trauma team, Dr. DuPree cared for American soldiers injured in combat on the front lines as well as local Afghani citizens.
“It’s a whole different way of practicing medicine,” said Dr. DuPree. “But as a trauma physician, I do think I learned things working there that I can put to work at in the emergency department here.”
DuPree thanked friends and co-workers at Mercy for watching over his family while he was away. He presented Dr. Cole Goodman, Mercy Clinic president, Kim Cash, Exec. Dir. of Hospital Practices and emergency department nurse Martha Adams flags that flew over the hospital at Camp Salerno in appreciation for their exceptional support while he was gone.
DuPree returned home safely last week to his wife, Ivelesse – a Mercy Clinic pediatrician and their two children, Alexandra (11) and Gabriela (4). This was Dupree’s third overseas deployment. He served in Kosovo in 2004 and Iraq in 2005.