Like most people, Conrad Dove remembers where he was on Sept. 11, 2001. "I was sitting at my desk when my phone rang," the technical specialist at the Multidisciplinary Simulation Center in Florida and Air National Guardsman says. "I thought it was my wife, so I picked up. It was the first sergeant from my unit. He told me we'd just been called back into active duty and that I needed to get back to the base as quickly as possible."
As Dove hung up the phone, his heart filled with worry -- not only for his country, but for his family. "We had just bought a house," he says. "We had a 15-month-old baby girl, and my wife was eight months pregnant. And by the end of that day, I was on a C-130 heading to a classified location."
Dove would spend the next 18 months serving his country far away from his family, his home, his job at Mayo Clinic, and the life he'd come to know. But, he says all of that was softened by the outpouring support he and his family would receive from colleagues at Mayo Clinic. "I had physicians calling and checking on me, and asking what they could do to help," he says. "I had a senior administrator offer to mow my grass. I can't remember one person who wasn't supportive and who didn't ask, 'What can I do to help?' It brought my wife to tears multiple times."
Dove says he was brought to tears himself the day he returned to Mayo. "Mayo Clinic is and has been a true blessing to me and my family," he says. "The day that I got back, I walked into my office at Mayo and sat down in my cubicle, and it was exactly the way I'd left it. The pens and pencils were still in the same spot. When I saw that, I had to go stand in the staircase because I became so emotional. It was something that changed my life."
Because Mayo Clinic and his colleagues took care of him and his family, Dove says he's decided to repay that favor by participating in Mayo's Because of You campaign in hopes of helping to change the lives of Mayo Clinic patients even though he says his contributions may not be life-changing by themselves. "I'm not participating at some high dollar amount," he says. "I'm only giving $10 to $20 a paycheck, because that's all I can afford. But every bit helps. And if everyone at Mayo gave back $10 of their paycheck, just think about what we could be doing to change medicine or change the way that our patients are cared for. To me, it's the least I can do when Mayo has been there for me and my family for the past 20 years."
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