EDMOND — Never let it be said Brian Levy is afraid to throw life a curve ball or make good use of his spare time.
The 59-year-old Edmond physician is spending this weekend getting adjusted to life in the Army National Guard. Levy, who practiced medicine for more than three decades in the Oklahoma City area, decided it was time for him to do something to help soldiers.
The moment came in church one morning.
“I was sitting at St. John’s, and something just clicked in my mind,” Levy said. “I can’t climb a mountain, but after 30 years of practicing medicine if they can take me and I can be of service, it was something I wanted to do.”
The decision mostly was inspired by his son, Pfc. Chris Levy, 25, who had been deployed to Afghanistan as a member of the National Guard during that time.
But for Brian Levy, getting into the National Guard was a two-year process. Physicians are accepted even at 59, but he still had to wait two years to finally sign his papers. He was commissioned May 19.
“With background checks and this and that, it took a long time,” Levy said. “I wasn’t worried they wouldn’t take me, but I was dreading the idea of having to get another Army physical. I had one in December 2012, and the time for me to have another one was getting closer.”
Levy and his wife, Jane, have been married 33 years. She has been supportive of the decision.
“My wife asked ‘You’re doing what?’ when I told her,” Brian Levy said.
“She doesn’t want me to end up going to an area that is dangerous, but she has come around. She’s excited for me.”
And so is his son. While children often find inspiration from their parents, in this case, it’s the other way around.
“I’m just truly proud that my dad and I can fight the good fight together,” Chris Levy said. “I know the Guard has done a lot of truly positive things in my life, and I have no doubt he will get a lot out of it, as well.”
When Levy first approached the Guard, he was met with surprise. It’s not every day a man in his late 50s calls to ask about joining up.
“I believe this is a first for us,” said Maj. Gen. Myles Deering, the state’s adjutant general, who swore in Levy at his commissioning ceremony. “It’s an honor to have Dr. Levy in our ranks, a man with a vast experience in the medical field. I’m just proud to be able to fulfill his desires of giving back to his country like his son has.”
Brian Levy is excited about getting started. His first drill is this weekend, and this summer he’ll report for what is expected to be a less intense basic training than 19- or 20-year-old inductees experience. He doesn’t have his uniform yet and isn’t sure whether he knows how to salute properly.
“I’ve been assured it’s more of a gentleman’s basic training,” Levy said of the three-week session.
“I know we have to get up at 4:30, but I get up at 5 anyway. There will be a couple of hours of physical training. It’ll be eye-opening I’m sure. I’ll have to work up to it. I got on the treadmill a couple of times a few weeks ago, but I don’t think that’s going to do me a lot of good.”
As for what happens after basic, he’ll likely be called on to serve one weekend a month and a couple of weeks a year.
After his basic officer course in San Antonio, he will report to the 1st Battalion, 180th Cavalry Squadron in Durant. He doesn’t expect to be deployed to a combat zone but will go if called.
“If that’s what they need me to do, I am certainly willing to do it,” he said.
Levy has specialized in internal medicine during his career. He has experience that includes the treatment of diseases, outpatient care, urgent and emergency care.
“It’s not for the money,” Levy said.
“I’ve had a great life in Oklahoma, and I think I can help. I’m excited to see where this takes me.”