Sally Ann Holmes, M.D., the Spinal Cord Injury Care Line executive at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, received the Operation American Heroes Foundation Founder’s Award at a ceremony at the Sugarland Marriott on November 10, 2011.
The Founders Award is given annually to honor local heroes, Veterans, and first responders who have gone above the call of duty to serve their country and community.
Holmes was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee. As a baby she was diagnosed with a congenital neuromuscular disorder that prevented the development of her muscular system. She now uses a power wheelchair and specially adapted van; but, this has never deterred her indomitable spirit or her drive for academic excellence and devoted service to others.
She graduated from Rhodes College in 1985 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. She received her Doctor of Medicine from the University of Tennessee Medical School at Memphis in 1990. Holmes completed her internship in Preliminary Medicine at Baptist Memorial Hospital in Memphis. Afterwards, she was accepted by Baylor College of Medicine in Houston to complete her residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. There, she worked at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center for a number of her rotations.
At the VA, she developed a special appreciation for her Veteran patients whom she says, “were so grateful for the quality medical attention they received.”
This devotion to military Veterans led her to a career with the VA hospital. She now oversees medical care for more than 500 patients who are in rehabilitation from spinal cord injuries.
“Dr. Holmes has always been the consummate rehabilitation professional who practices, teaches, and exemplifies a life that has far transcended her physical challenges and limitations,” said Thomas Horvath, M.D., former chief of staff for DeBakey VA. “Her patience, strength of character, quiet determination, and inspirational leadership has led the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center to be recognized as the finest spinal cord injury service in the VA.”