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Honoring The Career Of Dr. Robert Byers, M.D.

Rep. Ken Bentsen

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Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the long and decorated career of Dr. Robert Maxwell Byers. The oldest son of Dr. John Maxwell Byers and Charlotte Winchester Byers, Robert has spent more than 30 years at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, in Houston, Texas.

Dr. Byers grew up in the small town of Elkton, Maryland. An athletic teen who excelled in baseball, basketball, and track, Robert continued his athletic participation at Duke University, where he studied pre-Med. In 1959, he entered the University of Maryland Medical School in Baltimore where he excelled in his academic studies and received membership to the AOA and the Rush Honor Medical Society. In 1961, he married his high school sweetheart, Marcia Davis.

During his third year of Medical School, Robert was commissioned an Ensign in the United States Naval Reserve, and later rose to the rank of Captain in 1986. In 1963, Dr. Byers began his general surgical residency at the University Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. Five years later, he left for the Republic of Vietnam, as a fully trained general surgeon, with the 1st Marine Division. He received a unit commendation medal and combat action ribbon for his service in Vietnam. In 1969, he was certified by the American Board of Surgery. The following year, after his discharge from the Navy, he moved his family to Houston, Texas.

In Houston, Dr. Byers began a fellowship in Surgical Oncology at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. This was the decision that molded his career in Head and Neck Surgical Oncology. Over the past thirty years at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Dr. Byers climbed the ranks to Professor and Surgeon. His career has been decorated with many awards and honors. He was honored with the distinguished Alano J. Ballantyne, Chair of Head and Neck Surgery in 1998, and was selected to give the Hayes Martin Memorial Lecture at the 5th International Conference on Head and Neck Cancer. Dr. Byers has authored or co-authored more than 200 works, including published papers, book chapters, and monographs. Throughout his time at M.D. Anderson he has contributed to the education of more than 300 residents, who are now becoming the future leaders of this field of health care.

In addition to his professional work, Dr. Byers has played an active role in the Houston community. With four sons, MacGregor, Robby, Matthew, and John, he was actively involved in coaching Little League and basketball. All of us in the greater Houston area have benefited from Dr. Byers' dedication and commitment to the medical field and his family.

Mr. Speaker, Dr. Robert Maxwell Byers is a Veteran, a doctor, a father, a community activist, and a man whose commitment to the public good sets a model for future generations to follow. I applaud the long and accomplished career of Dr. Robert Maxwell Byers and wish him continued success in future endeavors.