(NECN: Mike Cronin) – A member of the Worcester, Mass. community is being honored for making a difference. For years, Doctor Mark Price spent his days working as an orthopedic surgeon at UMass Memorial Medical Center, until recently when he decided to join the Navy reserve. Now back from a nine-month stint in Afghanistan, Doctor Price is being recognized with one of the Navy's top honors.
Doctor Mark Price serves the community as an orthopedic surgeon at UMass Memorial Medical Center. A few years ago, he decided that wasn't enough.
“But I also felt that there was a bigger calling. That maybe on a national, an international level, we can do things for people,” he says.
Price joined the U.S. Navy reserves. In May, he returned from a nine-month tour in Afghanistan where he was a leader of a Navy surgical team.
“We took care of Afghanistan and coalition forces who were injured during fighting with Taliban and insurgents,” he recalls.
The 40-year-old cared for the wounded, sometimes under gunfire. He also helped set up a mobile hospital.
“Wherever they were injured to life, limb, or eyesight, we could provide pretty immediate care right next to the battlefield if you will.”
Price and fellow doctors partnered with the U.S. Special Forces Green Beret's. At times, they travelled in military convoys. During one trip, they were attacked. He credits the soldiers for saving his life.
“Superheroes exist in the US. It's those guys. It's the Navy SEALs, it's the Green Beret's... It felt really great to be able to do something for them because they're doing everything for us,” he says.
Ever humble, Price doesn't tout his own service, but, in a couple weeks, the military will. Price will be honored with the bronze star, honoring his acts of heroism in Afghanistan. Price says everyone on his team is a hero.
“If I could get each one of those guys a bronze star, I would do it in a heartbeat; those were tremendous human beings,” Price says.
This time of year, he encourages everyone to serve, not necessarily to join the Navy like he did, but to find ways to support the military and help returning veterans.
“I would encourage people to look around their community, see ways that they can do things like that. Take advantage of something like the 4th of July and maybe do more than sing the words of the national anthem.”