Page 14 - Amarillo Senior Link Magazine Fall 2021 - Online Magazine
P. 14

Dr. Rod Gonzalez
                                                               Dreams Can Come True

                                                               by Rebecca Gonzalez

                                                           currently teaches     Rod completed his Family
                                                           high school and       Medicine Residency in 2001 at
                                                           coaches swimming      Ft. Benning, Georgia and stayed
                                                           in Las Vegas. His     on there to serve as the Bridge
                                                           next younger          Surgeon for the 3rd Brigade
                                                           brother served        Combat Team, 3rd Infantry
                                                           in the U.S. Army      Division (Mechanized). When
                                                           and now works in      Rebecca became pregnant with
                                                           cybersecurity in      their first son, Rod told her,
                                                           Maryland, while       “Short of a war, I will be here
                                                           his sister serves as a   for the birth.” Well, we all know
                                                           Licensed Vocational   what happened a month later, on
                                                           Nurse in the San      9/11. Rod’s unit was immediately
                                                           Diego area.           put on alert to deploy, though
                                                                                 they ended up not leaving until
                                                           Rod was honored       one week after his son was born.
                                                           to attend West
                                                           Point. There he       After spending six months in
                                                           became an expert      Kuwait, he was re-deployed
                                                           marksman, learned     to Ft. Benning, only to be sent
                                                           how to drive a        back to Kuwait three months
                                                           Bradley tank, and     later. He was with the first unit
                                                           even played a         to cross the border into Iraq in
                  od Gonzales has the          year of water polo. Though this   March 2003 and eventually made
                  hands of a physician and
            Rthe heart of a soldier. As        California boy claims he was too   it to Baghdad after engaging
                                                                                 in battles in Nasiriyah, Najaf,
                                               much of a beach bum (too slow
            far back as he can remember        of a swimmer) to compete at the   Karbala, and Baghdad. While in
            — around age five — these are      collegiate level, he is proud of the   Baghdad, Rod worked with Iraqi
            the two careers he dreamed of      one goal he scored for his team.   hospitals to help ensure they
            pursuing. He managed to do         One of the biggest highlights of   were at full operating capacity
            both by becoming an Army           his four years at West Point was   with supplies and equipment. He
                                               the fact that he met the love of   also treated wounded soldiers
            He credits his success to          his life there, Rebecca Brady.    and wounded Iraqis – both
            his Christian faith and his        They attended church together at   military and civilians. His unit
            upbringing in a regular ol’        Highland Falls Assembly of God,   lost three fellow soldiers during
            American apple pie family.         where he often drove the church   that deployment – PFC Gregory
            His parents, Glenn and Shirley     van for his fellow cadets.        Huxley, PVT Kelley Prewitt, and
            Gonzales, are still living in      After graduating, Rod attended    SSG Terry Hemingway.
            the same home in Riverside,        New York Medical College in       Rod was privileged to serve
            California, where they raised      Valhalla, New York. The next      in multiple capacities in the
            their four children. His mother    year, he began his Active-Duty    Military Health System. Besides
            is a retired home economics        service in the United States      being a Brigade Surgeon, he
            teacher, and his father (who       Medical Corps at Ft. Bliss in     served as Chief of Family
            started off as a janitor) retired   El Paso, where he served as      Medicine Clinic in Ft. Benning.
            as the head of Maintenance         a transitional intern. He and     He completed a Primary Care
            and Operations for a school        Rebecca dated long distance and   Sports Medicine Fellowship
            district. His oldest brother       were married a year later.        in Washington DC. One of the
            inherited the teaching gene and

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