A Salute to Service
SACRAMENTO, Calif.— On the night of Jan. 21, 1991, in the thick of the Gulf War with Iraq, U.S. Army Lt. Phoebe Jeter gave the order to fire Patriot missiles at an incoming SCUD missile attack. At her command, her all-male team destroyed two SCUDs that night. She was the only woman to shoot down a SCUD missile during Operation Desert Storm.
“We could have died,” she said. “God had his hand over us that night.”
Retiring from the military in 2009 as a major, Jeter holds those memories and experiences close. After some time of reflection, she felt compelled to serve in other way: ministry work.
Now a reverend, Jeter serves as staff chaplain at Sutter’s California Pacific Medical Center Van Ness Campus in San Francisco, supporting patients in the intensive care unit and on the oncology floor. She came to that role in January, after several years as a chaplaincy intern, resident and palliative care fellow at Sutter’s Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland.
“I love the patients,” she said. “That’s the most important thing to me. And the people I work with have been just wonderful.”
Every day, Jeter uses the skills she learned in her long military career.
“At Sutter, we’re a team. I learned in the military the importance of the team, and I learned that what you do affects your teammates. What I do now affects Team Sutter. That’s what’s important to me.”
Ongoing Commitment to Veterans
Sutter Health has about 1,400 employees throughout its integrated healthcare system who are veterans or reservists. They enhance the organization with the experience and skills they gained during their military service, and help support exceptional health care to patients and families.
“As we pay tribute to the selflessness and strength of the millions of military men and women who have served our nation, we also honor those veterans and reservists working within our network,” said Sarah Krevans, president and CEO of Sutter Health. “Every day, they continue to demonstrate their sense of mission and purpose in their work roles. It is our privilege to work alongside them.”
Recognizing the value military service men and women continue to bring, Sutter Health works with the Employment Development Department to promote jobs for military members seeking employment. Sutter also participates in military career fairs and posts to online military job boards. Additionally, Sutter Health teams up with DirectEmployers, a national non-profit organization that helps connect veterans and others with career opportunities.
Military Support Efforts
Sutter Health’s appreciation for military veterans goes beyond those who work within the not-for-profit network. Sutter Health also donated a total of $50,000 to Fisher House Foundation and the American Red Cross’ Reconnection Workshops—two military-support efforts dedicated to improving the lives of veterans and their families in Northern California.
Fisher House Foundation is best known for a network of comfort homes where military and veterans’ families can stay at no cost while a loved one is receiving treatment. These homes are located at major military and VA medical centers nationwide, and in Europe, close to the medical center or hospital they serve. Sutter Health’s $25,000 donation will help four families stay for free for one full year at one of the Fisher House facilities. This donation will also support the purchase of vital supplies such as food and personal care items for families staying at the Travis Air Force Base Fisher House.
The Red Cross Services to the Armed Forces Program helps ease the transition that many service members and veterans have experienced through Reconnection Workshops. These workshops, which are free and confidential, help veterans address the challenges of readjusting into life with their families, their jobs and their communities. Sessions and materials focus on learning useful skills, developing effective coping mechanisms, and locating additional resources. The Red Cross Gold Country Region will distribute the $25,000 donation to chapters across Northern California to support veterans and their families who attend these workshops. In 2018, Sutter Health’s contribution helped multiply their service delivery from 373 to 940 people in the Gold Country, Central California and the Northern California coastal regions.