1. Collins, Amy M. associate editor

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Four nurses lost their lives on November 5, 2009, when alleged gunman Major Nidal Malik Hasan opened fire in the Soldier Readiness Center at Fort Hood, a U.S. Army base located outside of Killeen, Texas, killing 13 people and leaving 38 wounded.


Russell G. Seager, 51, was preparing for his first overseas deployment when he was shot and killed during the attack. A captain in the Army Reserve and an NP at the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Seager led a mental health team whose patients ranged from soldiers just back from Iraq and Afghanistan to World War II veterans struggling with depression. Seager earned his bachelor of science in nursing from Marquette University College of Nursing and continued his nursing education at the Deaconess School of Nursing and the Good Samaritan Medical Center, all in Milwaukee. Seager was inspired to join the military after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and enlisted four years ago. According to the Reverend Norm Oswald, chief chaplain at the medical center, he was deeply committed to his patients. "One of his patients told me that Russ wasn't afraid to come into the darkness with him," said Oswald, "and he stayed there until there was light. To Russ, these were not patients. . . . They were fellow humans and he wanted to help them."


Juanita L. Warman, 55, was preparing for deployment to Iraq when she was killed. An NP and physician assistant who'd served in the Trauma Recovery Program at the Perry Point VA Medical Center near Baltimore, Maryland, since 2005, Warman also volunteered in the Maryland National Guard's Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program, helping soldiers readjust after returning from overseas. A lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve, Warman held both a bachelor's and master's degree in nursing from the University of Pittsburgh. "She was a devoted colleague, a good friend, and an exceptional psychiatric nurse practitioner," said coworker B.J. Rementer. "[I'm] proud to be associated with someone who cared so much for our veterans, our soldiers, and our country."


John P. Gaffaney, 56, a psychiatric nurse, arrived at Fort Hood to prepare for deployment to Iraq only four days before the shooting. Gaffaney had been supervisor of San Diego's Adult Protective Services Department, helping abused and neglected older adults, for which he won a 20-year service award. Like Russell Seager, Gaffaney decided to return to military service after the September 11 attacks, becoming a captain in the army reserve. In an e-mail to county employees to inform them of Gaffaney's death, Ellen Schmeding, assistant deputy director of San Diego County's Health and Human Services Agency, wrote: "We all admired and respected John so very much for his commitment to do what he could to help during the current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. He was an inspiration to all of us in so many ways."


Michael Grant Cahill, 62, took just a week off to recuperate from heart surgery following a heart attack before returning to his job at Fort Hood as a physician assistant, only to lose his life in the shooting. At the time, Cahill, the only civilian employee of the 13 victims, was assisting with physicals for soldiers preparing for deployment. After earning a degree in psychology from Eastern Washington University and working as an RN, Cahill joined the Army National Guard, where he was trained as a physician assistant. He spent more than 20 years working in small VA and rural clinics and retired from the National Guard as a chief warrant officer. "He loved his patients, and his patients loved him," said Keely Vanacker, 33, the oldest of Mr. Cahill's three children. "He just felt his job was important."


Amy M. Collins


associate editor