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Gregory hospital CEO to depart on 13-month deployment

GREGORY — In about a month, Anthony Timanus will leave behind the patients at Gregory's hospital for 13 months to care for soldiers overseas.

With an end-of-September deployment with the South Dakota National Guard's Rapid City-based 189th Aviation Regiment looming, Timanus, the CEO of Avera Gregory Hospital, is working to tie up loose ends before he deploys.

But he's confident in the staff who will run the show in his absence.

"The staff here in Gregory is best staff I've ever worked with," Timanus said. "I run the books and the budget and stuff, but the care the people and patients receive won't change because those people will still be here. It's nice knowing I don't have to worry about that."

While away, the Miller hospital CEO will split his time between Miller and Gregory, so Gregory isn't left without leadership, Timanus said.

Leaving behind five children and a wife, Timanus said this deployment to the Middle East will likely be harder on everyone than any of his past three.

Now ages 14, 13, 10, 8 and 2, some of the children remember vaguely when Timanus was deployed last. But with a nine-year gap between then and now, the experience will be a bit different.

Timanus is able to comfort them, though, with assurance that his job is one of the best.

While deployed, Timanus and approximately 90 other South Dakota soldiers will be tasked with providing aerial medical evacuation of other soldiers.

"I tell them I have the best job in the Army, because we get to pick up patients and take them to hospitals," Timanus said. "It's very easy to understand why you're there and what you're doing."

Scheduled to deploy toward the end of September, this will be the third mobilization of the unit, which deployed to Iraq in 2011-2012 and to Kosovo from 2008 to 2009.

And Timanus is ready to head overseas again.

As Company Commander of the unit, Timanus is required to log several flight hours per month, and he travels to Rapid City approximately twice per month to get those hours. Formerly an active duty member of the Army from 2001 to 2011, with deployments in 2003, 2005 and 2008, he's been part of the 189th for six years.

"I want to contribute and we're all ready to get it started," Timanus said.