Dr. Mark Gebhart's new rank now matches his hairstyle.
Gebhart, an emergency department physician at Atrium Medical Center, has wanted to enlist in the U.S. Army for years and has always worn his hair a military length, said his wife, Jodi.
The couple discussed the decision, and since their careers are established and their daughter and two sons are grown, they figured the timing was right.
"I'm really proud of him," said his wife, an ER nurse for Premier Health's Austin Landing location in Miami Twp. "You pick and choose what's important to you and this has always been important to him."
Gebhart, 53, was commissioned Wednesday morning into the Army reserves as a lieutenant colonel during a ceremony in an emergency department bay that drew Army representatives, family, friends and Atrium staff. He will be assigned to the 311th Forward Resuscitative Surgical Team based in Sharonville.
"We look forward to an exciting, new chapter," Gebhart said after the ceremony. "This is really a great day. This is a good thing to do right now."
A physician for 21 years, Gebhart also has worked as a paramedic and serves as medical director for the Franklin Fire Department and Joint Emergency Medical Services district.
He hopes that medical experience helps him care for wounded soldiers in the field, and some of what he learns in the military will make him a more effective doctor at Atrium.
What drove him to enter the military as a "late comer" was his desire to provide medical care to those injured serving their country. He said parents, husbands and wives of soldiers should to be comforted knowing their loved one will receive "a level of care that is superb."
Entering the military after working as a civilian for his entire career will pose "a challenge," he said. He has "a new culture to learn," he said.
One thing he has always learned: things move slowly in the military. He started the Army application process 18 months ago during a meeting with officials at the hospital. This summer, he will spend two months completing medical and physical training.
Unlike other military families, the Gebharts are doing things backward. For them, the father is following in his son's footsteps. Jonathan Gebhart, 20, enlisted in the Army several months ago and has been assigned to Fort Richardson in Alaska. Another son, Jackson, 19, also may enlist in the military.
The Miamisburg High School graduate called the commission ceremony "a really cool experience."
When asked what it's like being a wife and mother of a military family, Jodi Gebhart, said, "I do a lot of praying. I love our county, love our military."
This article is written by Rick McCrabb from The Dayton Daily News and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to email@example.com.