After hearing of Osama Bin Laden’s capture near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border earlier this month, one of my first thoughts was of a Baylor alum I knew was wrapping up a three-month stint serving as a military trauma/burn surgeon not far away in Afghanistan.
After earning two master’s degrees from Baylor in biology and gerontology in 1989-90, Dr. Marc “Dutch” Matthews went on to earn his medical degree from UCLA. Since 2003, he has served as director of trauma at Maricopa Medical Center in Arizona and as associate director of the Arizona Burn Center. After hearing President George W. Bush call for Americans with “critical skills” in his 2007 State of the Union address, Matthews signed up for the Arizona Air National Guard, and at the age of 44, he headed off to the Air Force’s basic training program for doctors.
“I am doing God’s work right here for the Marines, Air Force and Army as well as for the Afghan people,” wrote the lieutenant colonel during his stay. “In fact, tonight I am caring for an 18-year-old Afghan male that was badly injured in an IED incident. Tonight I will stay up with him all night to see him through so that we can take him back in the morning to operate on him. I am blessed that I had the opportunity to serve.” (Click here to read a letter Matthews recently sent home to his father, or here to see photos he provided from his stay.)
Matthews credits Baylor for helping him reach the point in his life and in his career where he could serve in such a way.
“Dr. David Eldridge accepted me into the biology department as a graduate student, and Ray Wilson took me under his wing,” Matthews says. “Professor Wilson really helped me get in [to med school] with several other of my friends. He was an inspiration and a great man, a thinker and a benefactor of students at Baylor University. He also loved Jesus and brought me back into the fold. For this I am indebted to Baylor University.
“Baylor inspired me to reach and become the man I am today. Now I serve the injured troops of the U.S., Britain, New Zealand, France, Georgia, Poland, Afghanistan and others of the coalition. From Navy Seals, Army Special Forces, Airmen, Marines, etc. What an honor and a privilege!”
Sic ’em, Dr. Matthews!