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Military veterans continue life-saving work in Valley medical centers

Angela Phillips is a 9-year Army veteran who is now a nurse practitioner, taking care of trauma patients in the East Valley.

MESA, Ariz. — While Veterans Day celebrations look different across Arizona, Angela Phillips, an Army veteran, is still going to find a way to celebrate the men and women who sacrificed so much to serve our country.

Phillips comes from a family with a strong military background. She started as a registered nurse in the army in 1999. 

From there, Phillips says she went through officer basic, active duty and was sent to serve in different locations. 

After spending time working in the ICU at Fort Bliss in Texas, Phillips says she went back into the reserves. While Phillips was in the reserves, she served on multiple deployments. 

Now out of the Army, she is married with two daughters. Phillips went back to school for her second master's degree, becoming a nurse practitioner. Today, she works at Chandler Regional Medical Center in the trauma department.

Having been in health care for 23 years, Phillips says she loves taking care of people and watching them heal. 

"I dealt with a lot of trauma and neuro-injury in the army. I didn't necessarily get to see the good outcomes, them going through rehab. Now, seeing them from beginning to end and in the clinic, I get to see the whole thing. And that makes a difference," Phillips said. 

Phillips says while she was in the Army, she loved the comradery. She relied on her team to get through the hard times. 

"I enjoyed that piece in the army, maybe that's what I miss the most," Phillips said.  

Veterans Day is a special time for Phillips to honor fellow military men and women. 

She says even though a lot of events look different this year, she will still find a way to recognize everyone who has served America. 

"The hardship that they had, that needs to be recognized and respected. And I think Veterans Day does that," Phillips said. 

Wednesday in Mesa, there will be a drive-thru style East Valley Veterans Day Parade. You're encouraged to attend, decorate your vehicle in a patriotic style and celebrate Valley veterans. 

The parade starts at 11 a.m. and will end at 2 p.m. It's happening near the Mesa Convention Center. 

Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser is the parade's grand marshal this year. He served as a medical officer in the navy for 11 years and now has a private practice in Phoenix.

Jasser's parents escaped Syria in the mid-1960s for freedom in America. Jasser is a first generation American Muslim.

“As somebody who loves this state and thanks God every day for the day my parents decided to escape and come to the United States. I think this year’s Veterans Day should remind us that we’re a diverse community with not only diverse ideas that can come together in unity," Dr. Jasser said.