Freeman News

Freeman Salutes Veterans During Military Appreciation Month

May 13, 2020

Remember, Honor, Support

Joplin, Mo – We often hear that healthcare workers are on the front lines in the battle against the deadly COVID-19 virus. But battlefronts aren’t new to veterans like Jeremy Jones, Freeman Health System Director of Cardiology and Critical Care Services. The Marine Corps veteran leads a team of nurses who volunteered to serve in the C-zone intensive care unit caring for COVID patients. 

“I feel like my experience in the service helps me to remain calm and tactful in stressful situations,” Jones says.

This month and everyday Freeman Health System honors more than 125 veterans who work here. 

“Freeman treats its veterans very well,” says Jones.

Freeman honors veterans every day through its special red, white and blue employee badge identification program. In addition, Freeman has a special Veteran Integration Program (VIP) that helps veterans navigate care seamlessly into healthcare services and providers in the area.

“I feel like they recognize everyone who has served. The badges that are available are one thing that I feel sets us apart from everyone else,” Jones added.

“At Freeman Health System, we’re grateful to have so many veterans on our team,” says Paula Baker, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Soldiers embody many qualities that translate well into the workplace—loyalty, integrity, perseverance, selflessness and personal courage, to name a few. During National Military Appreciation Month and throughout the year, we commend Freeman Health System’s many veterans for their commitment to our country, our patients and our community.”

Jones agrees that veterans make great employees. “Life experience helps them adjust to the ever-changing world of healthcare,” says Jones. “In the military and in healthcare, you can get a ton of changes thrown at you all at once. Veterans seem to adjust more easily to those changes.”

Marty Fordham, Freeman Director of Perioperative Services, served in the U.S. Navy for 17 years as a hospital corpsman and nurse corps officer. “I was led to pursue this career path by professionals I met in the Navy and who became my role models and mentors,” he says. “They taught me to be mission-focused.”

Like Jones, he believes veterans make good medical leaders because they are responsive and dedicated. “I enjoy working with highly skilled professionals who really care about the people we are serving,” Fordham says. “I am always inspired by the effort and skill shown by nurses, doctors and technicians when things are really busy or urgent and patients or families need our help.”

“We encourage the community to join Freeman as we honor, remember, recognize and appreciate our veterans,” says Baker. “This includes the men and women who have bravely served throughout our history, those now serving in uniform and their families, as well as those Americans who have given their lives in defense of the freedoms we all enjoy today. We tell our employees, if you work alongside a veteran, take the time to thank them for their service!”

Why is important to serve? Jones says, “It was something I always wanted to do. I told my mom when I was 5 that I was going to be a Marine and make President Reagan proud. That, and a strong sense of patriotism, are what led me to serve.”





Locally owned, not-for-profit and nationally recognized, Freeman Health System includes Freeman Hospital West, Freeman Hospital East, Freeman Neosho Hospital and Ozark Center – the area’s largest provider of behavioral health services – as well as two urgent care clinics, dozens of physician clinics and a variety of specialty services. In 2019, Freeman earned dozens of individual awards for medical excellence and patient safety from CareChex®, a quality rating system that helps consumers evaluate healthcare providers.  U.S. News & World Report named Freeman Health System the Best Hospital in Southwest Missouri for 2019.  With more than 300 physicians on staff representing more than 70 specialties, Freeman provides cancer care, heart care, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopaedics, children’s services and women’s services. Additionally, Freeman is the only Children’s Miracle Network Hospital in a 70-mile radius. For more information, visit