Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Navy Veteran Patrick Clair Ward. Patrick served from August 1984 to 1988.
Patrick is 5th generation Navy and the God-son of WWII hero and longest serving Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Arleigh A. Burke. Patrick was the director and care giver for the Burkes. He also was the chief architect, producer and director of Admiral and Mrs. Burke’s funeral, the largest military funeral service of the decade. Due to his success, Patrick was awarded Presidential Commendations, Tri-Service Recognitions and over 100 letters of Diplomatic appreciation for the ceremony.
Patrick completed his undergraduate degree in Missouri and his doctorate in Washington D.C. From here, he went on to serve as a doctor at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Washington D.C. After leaving this location, he accepted orders as Chief of the Medical Eye Clinic at the Washington Naval Yard. He was also stationed at Navy Medical Clinic United States Naval Academy Annapolis Maryland and at Navy Medical Hospital New Port Rode Island.
During Patrick’s service, he was deployed numerous times as a member of SecNav’s, CNO’s, Surface Warfare’s staffs and other units. He provided medical care at various abroad locations and at sea. Patrick is a Plank Owner of the USS Arleigh Burke (DDG51) and was fundamental in assisting the Navy to promote the new USS Arleigh Burke Destroyer Class of ships, for funding staffing and Capitol Hill approval.
While serving, Patrick sustained serious injuries and had a total of 54 surgeries, leading to the amputation of his right leg above the knee and 100% disabled along with other complications. Regarding his difficulties, Patrick says, “You wake up one morning and the life you had is no longer the life that you have. When you lose a big part of the person you were, you set out to find the person you can be. People spend too much time re-telling the traumatic events of what almost ended their life, reliving those events each time the tell it. It took too much of my life already and refuse to give in even one more minute. ”
Today, Patrick is involved with many programs through the VA, including the National Disabled Veterans Winter & Summer sports clinics, the Gold Program for Veterans and the VA National Fine Arts program, among others. He is also a Paralympic men’s rowing team member and is said to be a possible participant for the Summer Paralympic games in 2020.
Patrick has received other honors for his service post military: 2016 VA/Disabled Veterans National Spirit Award, 2017 Florida Governor’s Veteran Service Award with Valor and awards from MiamiVA for his volunteer service to other Disabled Veterans and his support and participation in VA sponsored programs.
With working with the VA National Fine Arts Programs, he has won 6 National 1st place blue ribbon awards and won an Emmy award for one of his videos that was a tribute to the Miaimi VA Hospital and the physical therapist, Rafael Hernandez, who helped him.
Patrick also created a program ‘Buy and Supply’ with his sister, Anne and close friend Michael. The program was created to help provide winter clothing to Veterans. They attended The National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic in Colorado with ski jackets, shirts and other winter clothing free of charge to the Veteran. After 5 years, the program now purchases clothes that specifically meet the needs of the Veterans they help. Patrick’s work is also featured on the VA’s webpage for the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic.
Thank you for your service, Patrick!
Nominate a Veteran for #VeteranOfTheDay
Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? You’re in luck! VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.
It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. All it takes is an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with as much information as you can put together, along with some good photos. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.
Graphic By Kierra Willis: Kierra Willis is a Graphic Communication Major at the University of Maryland University College. She currently has an AAS in Graphic Design and Visual Communications.