Five-star care: Alumnus makes a difference

Alumni Paul Goymerac

Paul Goymerac ’89 moved swiftly and spoke quickly on his recent visit to UW-Green Bay — his first in 20 years — when he visited remodeled labs in the Laboratory Sciences Building. The lieutenant colonel in the United States Army is the ultimate multi-tasker, and it shows.

With administrative responsibilities for 1,500 medical military staff, Goymerac is accustomed to a brisk pace. He serves as his soldiers’ human resource manager and troop commander for Madigan Army Medical Center in Fort Lewis, Wash., and its six-state region.

He has had two overseas tours in his 20-year military career — in 1991 Desert Shield/Storm, where he served on a Forward Airborne Surgical Team from Fort Bragg, and again in Iraq in 2003, where he was the medical brigade’s “S1,” coordinating all medical personnel support in Northern Iraq.

“To tell you the truth, tours of duty are very rewarding and less stressful than day-to-day operations in the states,” Goymerac says. “We have been trained for a specific job, and that is what we do. (Stateside), we deal with all the politics, staff shortages, et cetera.”

When Walter Reed Army Medical Center drew national headlines for its run-down condition. Goymerac’s commanding officer, Brigadier General Sheila Baxter, appointed him commander for the center’s “Warrior in Transition” battallion. The battalion — doctors, nurses, administrative personnel, and patients — has since made dramatic improvements in the delivery of healthcare to wounded soldiers returning from deployments.

“I was grateful to be part of the success that is taking place as the Army Medical Department improves its own delivery of care for soldiers and beneficiaries,” he said.

Goymerac attended Premontre High School (now Notre Dame Academy) in Green Bay. He accepted an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, but wasn’t as successful as he had hoped. He transferred back home, to UW-Green Bay, and spent most of his time on campus surrounded by fellow chemistry students and members of the ROTC. He says he will be forever grateful to UW-Green Bay faculty like Profs. Robert Wenger and James Wiersma, who were tough, but believed in his ability to achieve.

“I took Dr. Wenger’s class three times to pass Calculus II, but he didn’t give up on me,” he said. “He never judged my failings, only encouraged me to succeed.”

Goymerac has the opportunity to retire next summer, giving up his 14- to 16-hour days for the more relaxing pace at his permanent residence just outside of Olympia, Wash., near the Puget Sound. But he says retirement at this stage is not in the cards. His soldiers need him to stay in.

“I owe it to the soldiers and their selfless service for the greater good,” he says. “The Army has invested so much time in me to be an officer and a senior leader. I enjoy it. It’s a noble profession with much gratification.”