Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Inc. Launches First San Antonio Heroes of Military Medicine Celebration Honoring Four Local Dignitaries

United States

In a first of its kind event in San Antonio, the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Inc. (HJF) will honor four exceptional San Antonio military medicine heroes in its Heroes of Military Medicine San Antonio celebration. The event, taking place October 20, 2022, will recognize top researchers, practitioners, ambassadors, and champions of military medicine in our community. 

  • Mr. Charles Martin “Marty” Wender will receive the Hero of Military Medicine San Antonio Civilian Patient award, which highlights how military medicine not only saves the lives of our active-duty men and women but civilians as well. In 2016, Mr. Wender suffered traumatic burns over 20 percent of his body in an accident and his survival was uncertain. Thanks to the work of the San Antonio Military Medical Center or SAMMC (formerly Brooke Army Medical Center), the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research (ISR), and UT Health San Antonio, he is currently thriving and has become a leading champion of innovation in military medicine. Marty’s journey of survival showcases the special collaboration between the military and civilian communities that benefits our community.  

  • Major General Juan G. Ayala (Ret.) will receive the Hero of Military Medicine San Antonio Ambassador award, which recognizes those who transfer military experiences to the broader civilian community to advance the health and well-being of service members and civilians alike. This individual ensures public and civilian partners jointly advance the military’s presence and mission in the San Antonio region. Mr. Ayala retired as a Major General in the U.S. Marine Corps after 36 years of service and currently serves as Director of the City of San Antonio’s Office of Military and Veteran Affairs. 

  • Dr. Ian M. Thompson, Jr. will receive The Hero of Military Medicine San Antonio Civilian Provider award, which recognizes an individual who has effectively leveraged their clinical and research experience in military medicine to provide care to the civilian community they serve. Vaunted by peers in both sectors, this individual demonstrates how military medical training and innovation can directly impact civilian health. Dr. Thompson received his undergraduate training at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y., and completed his residency in urology at Brooke Army Medical Center (now SAMMC). He is widely regarded as an innovator and leading researcher in the field of urological oncology. He is currently President of the Friends of CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Foundation and The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio Foundation. 

  • Col. Heather Yun will receive the Hero of Military Medicine San Antonio award, which honors one military medical professional from any Service Component who demonstrates excellence in medical research or clinical care through compassion and selfless dedication to advancing military medicine and the overall health of our nation’s wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans. Col. Yun is the Deputy Commander for Medical Services, and an infectious disease specialist, at Brooke Army Medical Center treating patients in hospital and clinical settings. She is a leading resource and researcher on the COVID pandemic.  

“HJF is proud to present our 2022 Heroes of Military Medicine Awards to these San Antonio leaders who have made such important contributions to military medicine in the community,” said HJF President and CEO Joseph Caravalho, Jr., M.D. “This will be the first celebration of many to come in San Antonio to honor our military and community collaborators.” 

“We are so honored to be part of this important undertaking,” commented event co-chairs David and Meredith Alvarez. “Here in Military City USA, we have an abundance of riches when it comes to military medicine and the benefits to our community, and we are thrilled to be leading the charge to recognize these honorees.” 

The HMM/SA event will take place October 20, 2022 at 6:30 p.m. at the San Antonio Botanical Gardens. Sponsors include United Concordia Dental, USAA, and others. More information on the invitation-only event and sponsorship opportunities can be found here

Since 2010, HJF has hosted the annual Heroes of Military Medicine (HMM) Awards dinner in Washington, D.C., welcoming top military leaders in the nation to honor those who have made significant contributions to the field of military medicine around the world. HMM honorees distinguish themselves through excellence and selfless dedication while serving our nation’s wounded, ill and injured service members, veterans, and civilians and their families.