Dr. Jack Keen is a familiar face to our patients, volunteers, and partners. He has served as our Medical Director since we opened in 2011. If you happen to stop by Mercy Clinic, you can catch a glimpse of him at work almost every night that the clinic is open. Dr. Keen has served the Fort Worth community for decades as an OB/GYN (obstetrician/gynecologist). So, when I first heard that he had been flight surgeon for the Blue Angels, I became intrigued. Like so many before me, I asked the first of two questions that he has already answered countless times: “How did you become the flight surgeon for the Blue Angels?”
Flight Surgeon to Angels
I daresay that most of us have heard of or even seen the Blue Angels. The pilots perform worldwide and are famous for executing precision maneuvers on razor-thin margins. Every exhibition tries the endurance of man and machine, and the pilots must be in peak physical condition. Likewise, the support crew must be at the top of their game.
From 1969 to 1971, the responsibility for ensuring that the Blue Angels flight group performed at their best rested on Dr. Keen. Dr. Keen received his medical degree during the tumult of the Vietnam War. As was often the case, the United States called upon its best and brightest to serve their country. After a brief stint as a general medical officer, Dr. Keen transferred into flight surgery and was assigned to the Blue Angels.
After serving his country, Dr. Keen pursued a residency in obstetrics and gynecology. And again, like so many before me, I asked the second question he has answered many times before: “How did you go from being a flight surgeon to wanting to deliver babies?” The answer came effortlessly and with a smile hinting at decades of joy: “Looking back on it, it’s probably the happiest specialty in medicine. In this specialty, we generally deal with healthy patients with few complications and seeing that smile on that mother and daddy’s face—it makes it all worthwhile.”
Serving Mercy Clinic
When I first met Dr. Keen, I was struck by his quiet intensity. He does not waste words or actions, and he treats patients with the same economy. By necessity and training, a doctor learns that he or she cannot afford to waste a thought or an action.
Naturally, I assumed that his precision grew out of his military experience. He had spoken highly of the military’s capacity to instill leadership and discipline in its members. However, when I asked him where he developed his penchant for focus and precision, he responded that it began in medical school and continued through his internship, military service, residency, and beyond. He best summed it up with “every day is a learning experience.”
Today, Dr. Keen brings that same capacity for leadership and precision to Mercy Clinic. He not only serves as our Medical Director but also on our Board of Directors; and like all of our board members, he volunteers his time and expertise to Mercy Clinic as well as to building relationships in our broader community.
Dr. Jack Keen is a veteran among us, and he exemplifies what it looks like to care for the widow, fatherless, poor, and sojourner in obedience to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. To Dr. Keen and all of the veterans who volunteer with Mercy Clinic, we say “Thank you!”
article by Casey Jones