Carlton Deese

P.Y.S.K.

pysk-nov-webAssociate Director, Georgia War Veterans Nursing Home, Augusta University

Number of years in position: 3 years

Family: My wife, Courtney, and I have a daughter, Caroline, and a son, Camden.

Why I’m Passionate About What I Do: I consider it a privilege to serve the veterans who have sacrificed so much for this great nation. It is truly an honor to wake up every day and care for the veterans who have served during WWII, the Korean War, Vietnam and the Gulf War. Georgia War is a treasure trove of military experience and wisdom, but these men and women are not only veterans. They are proud family members, pillars of the Georgia community and have had long, successful careers. To be able to give back to this population is an honor.

I also find it rewarding to be involved with the clinical and medical education of Georgia’s future healthcare professionals. Georgia War is a training site for Augusta University’s Medical College of Georgia, Dental College of Georgia, College of Nursing and College of Allied Health Sciences. We also support training opportunities for Fort Gordon’s Eisenhower Army Medical Center and Augusta Technical College. It is a joy to work with these future healthcare professionals.

Community Groups and Charities I Love to Support: I am an advocate and huge supporter of all of our veteran service organizations such as the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Paralyzed Veterans of America, just to name a few. There are so many other groups like the Knights of Columbus who volunteer their time as well. These organizations do so much for the veterans in our community, especially at Georgia War and the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center.

I also like to volunteer and give back to the American Heart Association and United Way. The United Way does so much for the CSRA by leveraging resources to improve our community. The American Heart Association gives back to the community through healthcare, education and research, especially at Augusta University. I’m proud to support these community groups.

Biggest Career or Life Obstacle I’ve Overcome and How: My biggest career/life obstacle was a blessing in disguise. Finding a job in the middle of the 2008 recession was not so easy. After graduating from The Medical University of South Carolina, I found myself in Charleston with very few options. I went into the program originally for hospital administration, but many of the entry-level executive positions were cut during the recession. Fortunately, though, an administrative fellowship opened at the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center and that opportunity ended up being the foundation to not only my professional life, but my personal life as well. This is where I met my wife, who also works with many of these same veteran service organizations.

Accomplishment I’m Most Proud Of: Personally, I’m a very proud husband and dad. My wife and kids are truly a blessing. Professionally, I am honored to be named one of Georgia’s Top 40 Under 40 this year by Georgia Trend magazine. They recently held the awards presentation at Fox Theatre in Atlanta.

Favorite Way to Spend Saturday Afternoon: I am an avid college football fan, so Saturday afternoons in the fall are pretty much booked. Luckily though, watching college football is something we do as a family. I also like the outdoors and camping out at the lake, something I look forward to doing more of when my kids are a little older.

Favorite TV Show: “ESPN College Game Day”

Favorite Movie: Forrest Gump

Favorite Sports Team: Clemson — Go, Tigers!

Favorite Comfort Food: Country fried steak, fresh collard greens, okra and squash.

Favorite App: Probably Google Maps. This app prevents me from getting lost relatively often.

Last Book Read: The Little Engine That Could — one of my daughter’s favorite books

Dream Vacation: Spending a couple of weeks in the Caribbean visiting the British Virgin Islands and U.S. Virgin Islands. I’ve never been, and they seem like the perfect vacation spots for a little bit of R&R.

Best Thing I Ever Learned: The harder you work, the luckier you will be. I was taught that at a young age and have found it to be true over the years.

Something That Has Changed My Life: My parents, no doubt, have had the most impact in my life, but playing sports has really changed my life, especially playing college baseball. There are so many life lessons that can be learned through sports. Professionally, having the opportunity to work under a great man and leader, Charles Esposito, executive director at Georgia War. I owe so much to Charles for taking a chance on me three years ago and allowing me the opportunity to serve in a leadership capacity at Georgia War.

Favorite Hobbies: Exercising, camping, kayaking and being out on the lake.

Secret Aspiration: I would like to one day teach business at the college level and be involved with the professional development of aspiring young folks. Looking back at all of the professors who made an impact on my life is motivating and makes me want to give back.

Reality Show I Would Totally Win: “Big Brother” — I find it a fascinating social experiment. It’s interesting to see people with different backgrounds live in the same environment while competing for the same goal. I think it would be a neat experience.

Something People Would Be Surprised to Know About Me: I grew up on a 64-acre farm in South Carolina with all the animals you can imagine. I look back now at how special those times were. I especially enjoyed being around horses at a young age.