Trauma surgeon who treated Gabrielle Giffords honored by his high school
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Dr. Peter Rhee, the Fayette County high school graduate and trauma surgeon who treated former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords after she was shot in the head, was honored today at his old stomping grounds.
He was inducted into the Laurel Highlands Life Achievement Hall of Fame along with seven others, including graduates and former superintendents.
Dr. Rhee, 50, is chief trauma surgeon at the University of Arizona Medical Center in Tucson and treated Ms. Giffords following an assassination attempt last year.
He said in an interview today that he watched his patient lead the Pledge of Allegiance Thursday night at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.
"I was moved. I was very excited and I was very happy for her," Dr. Rhee said. "I was happy for the American public who watched her and had good thoughts and positive feelings. She's had a good recovery, and the recovery is going forward."
Born in Korea, Dr. Rhee spent his teenage years living in Uniontown, where he wrestled and graduated in 1979 from Laurel Highlands High School.
The son of a physician, Dr. Rhee went into medicine and spent 24 years in the U.S. Navy performing battlefield casualty care.
He said he gladly came back to Uniontown for his induction and is proud of his adopted hometown, its high school graduates and the local families who see education as a path to a better life.
"I've always called Uniontown my home," Dr. Rhee said.
"When you come back to a little town like Uniontown and I see people since graduation still here and all my friends from high school own this store, that building and they're community leaders...I think that's what the American dream is," Dr. Rhee said. "I'm extremely proud I had a chance to live that fortunate life in this country."
First Published September 8, 2012 4:02 pm