March 2017 Veteran of the Month: Recipient of the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal
Our featured veteran for March is Frank Forgnoni, OD!
Dr. Forgnoni graduated from Pennsylvania College of Optometry in 1996. He is a new addition to the National Vision Doctor of Optometry Network, joining DRex of South Carolina, P.C. in December of 2016. Dr. Forgnoni currently practices in multiple offices next to America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses stores located in Anderson, Greer, Greenville and Spartanburg, South Carolina.
We recently chatted with Dr. Forgnoni to learn more about his path in life and what has led him to where he is today as a reservist and optometrist.
Tell us about your military career. What inspired you to join?
“I started serving in 2009 as an Optometrist in the Army Reserves, and am still serving today. In early 2016 I was promoted from Captain to Major.
I have deep gratitude for all veterans of all branches, especially my father who served as an Army combat infantryman in Vietnam. His service inspired me to serve in the Army, and after 9/11, I especially wanted to do my part. In 2008 I learned there was (and still is) a critical war-time shortage of Army Optometrists; this inspired me to become commissioned in 2009.
I was mobilized for nearly a year in 2011, and assisted with a special assignment for nearly 6 months in 2015.”
Tell us about your volunteer work with the Lions Club and your recent recognition.
“I started volunteering with Lions Clubs in 1998, providing free and low cost services for eye exams and glasses. Over nearly 20 years, I’ve helped more than 2,000 patients get the vision care they needed through this relationship.
In the winter of 2016, I was honored to receive the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal from the Army Reserves, which is awarded for substantial volunteer service to the local community. I was recognized for over 10 years of volunteer vision services to local Lions Clubs in Upstate South Carolina. As part of the award, I received a ribbon that is permanently worn on my dress uniform. The medal is humbling, and a great conversation starter that inspires others to volunteer and recognize the importance of volunteering.
Giving back to others, no matter how small it may seem, can make a tremendous difference in a person’s life.”
What do you enjoy about being an Optometrist affiliated with National Vision?
“Most of my first 20 years as an optometrist was spent in private practice ownership, including starting two locations from scratch and later selling them to other owners. As an NVI-affiliated OD, I love being able to focus on patient care and not the overhead and management of private practice. The support provided by the staff allows me to do what I love best.
Also, I have two fellowships in Vision Therapy, and I still make those referrals when indicated. Working here enables me to enjoy a better work-life balance, and I feel very blessed to be in this season of my life.”
Why do you think it’s important for companies like National Vision to continue to make an effort to hire veterans?
“Veterans make up approximately 1% of the U.S. population, and National Vision’s support of these men and women is very inspiring! Not every company takes the time to be proactive with veterans.
Serving in the Army has helped me to further develop important life skills, such as discipline, honor, leadership and time management. Veterans share these same skills and are valuable additions to any team, in any field.”
Last year we made a commitment to hire a minimum of 500 veterans and/or veteran spouses over the next five years across all of our retail brands. Within those 500 positions, we have committed to hiring a minimum of 100 military veterans and/or veteran spouses in technology-focused positions as part of the Joining Forces initiative. We are proud to announce that we now have 351 self-identified veterans as part of our NVI family.
Thank you, Dr. Forgnoni, for your service to our country and for helping us with our mission to make quality eye care and eyewear more affordable and accessible. We are thrilled to have you as part of our team!
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