LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Just a week away from the Fourth of July, KCBD is celebrating some of our local heroes.
Connie Gonzales is a nurse manager at Covenant Health and also serves as a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves.
Connie Gonzales says the key to a happy life is not concentrating on yourself. Connie exemplifies this every day a nurse manager at Covenant Health and as a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army Reserves.
"In about 2008, I went active duty for nine years. I just got back to Covenant in 2017. Now I'm back working full time for Covenant and doing Army part-time. So, I've done both since 2001, but I've been a nurse since 1998."
She first starting serving when she was 34 years old, just before the 9/11 attacks.
"A few of us joined about July 2001 and then 9/11 happened and that was September. That put a lot of meaning of why I wanted to join. I didn't have a specific reason or a desire. It was something I wanted to do, be a part of something big."
Connie's passion for taking care of patients led her to help start the Operation Military Appreciation Committee at Covenant Health, which aims to make patients who have served or young patients who have parents serving, feel special.
"The main thing we're working on is how to identify veterans when they come through the door. We haven't quite finalized yet. We're trying to put up posters to ask people if they would let us know if they're a veteran. We're going to ask that question on admission and then we'll put it in their chart and then we'll find some way to honor them in the room. Right now, we're looking at a flag above their bed."
With the Fourth of July just around the corner, it reminds her of how proud she was to serve.
"I have a very big family and it's so meaningful for me because I have a very big support system and a great family. When we get together, it's a family reunion weekend and we just celebrate. We celebrate the freedoms that we have and I think that just brings more meaning to my job as an Army nurse and being in the military."
"On active duty, if I was wearing my uniform, people want to hug you, people want to hug you, thank you, buy you meals… it's very humbling. It's almost like you want to say, 'No, please don't buy my meal.' But, that's their way of saying thank you and be a part of what you're doing.'
Connie is not on Active Duty, but if she were to be called she says she would go.
Join us at the 4th on Broadway parade this year to help celebrate those who serve our country and give back to the community.