Thursday, June 10, 2010

Cooperation Key to Successful Care

June 8 onboard USNS Mercy was a day distinguished by the visits of dignitaries, especially Admiral Robert F. Willard and Admiral Prucek-Koler, both here to work with our Commodore Lisa Franchetti.

Volunteers with Project HOPE were encouraged to talk with our guests as they toured the ship. The highlight was the excitement throughout the Pediatrics Ward when Admiral Willard and Commodore Franchetti and Admiral Willard’s wife came through to talk and play with the youngest of our patients. Commander of the United States Pacific Council and responsible for half of the military of the USA, Admiral Willard showed a keen interest in everybody, in every baby. Commodore Franchetti seemed to enjoy blowing Project HOPE bubbles for the babies as well.

HOPE volunteer nurse Peggy Goebel handed over to the Admiral a baby boy with a splinted arm who was in her charge, assisted by Catherine Chung, Will Flores and Kim Fong, nursing students with Project HOPE from the University of San Diego program. The Project HOPE volunteers participating included nurses Peggy Holt and Fran Bauer as well.

During the visit to the Pediatrics Ward, Admiral Willard gave each staff member and HOPE volunteer one of his limited-edition unique personal commemorative coins, received by them as a special honor and a way of remembering what they surely would not forget anyway. Peggy says, “It was an honor and a pleasure to shake the hand of a four-star admiral and to hand him and his wife the two post-operative babies I was working with on Pediatrics.”

One of the babies, Le, reached up and tweaked the stars on the shoulder of the Admiral. When Peggy said, “He wants to have your stars,” the Admiral replied, “One day maybe he will.” Mrs. Willard seemed to hate to leave.

The accompanying pictures were taken by Photographer MC Jackson, Navy, of the Public Affairs Office who has been working with me onshore at the medical clinics.

Thanks for reading - Mary Hamill, Project HOPE PAO

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