East Coast Wounded Warriors
The Purple Heart Hero Support volunteers were very busy at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, on Sunday, February 13, 2011. Walter Reed Army Hospital, which is in close proximity, is no longer accepting wounded warriors. They have begun closing down their operation in anticipation of merging with the Naval Hospital at Bethesda. The Bethesda hospital is undergoing extensive renovations in anticipation of the merger. The new facility will be known as the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. All new wounded will continue to come right to Bethesda.
There were many family members on the Wounded Warrior floor of the National Naval Medical Center on Sunday. Staff from the post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury wing of the 7th floor psych ward came down to get meals for their patients. The service dogs from Veterans Moving Forward came to visit again, and they ventured up to the 7th floor to greet the wounded warriors suffering from PTSD and TBI.
There were several young children there visiting their fathers, and they loved the service dogs. It was nice for them to have something warm and furry to hang on to amongst the overwhelming commotion. The wounded warriors also enjoyed the dogs’ company. An ambulatory wounded warrior sat on the floor with them for about 45 minutes after eating his supper of burritos and salad from California Tortilla.
A mother from the third floor Intensive Care Unit came up to the fifth floor for a meal, and one of our volunteers led her to the conference room where they were being served. Her husband had just left Maryland to go back to work. They had decided to take turns staying with their son in the ICU. Another PHHS volunteer sat with her for an hour while she ate, just letting the mother talk. Sometimes family members just need someone kind and interested to sit with them.
PHHS volunteer Susan brought Valentine candy as treats for the families and wounded warriors. Navy mother Barb Stirling of St. Mary’s County, Maryland, again spent all Saturday baking cookies and brownies to send to Bethesda for dessert, and we thank her for her time and generosity. PHHS volunteers will serve supper again on Feb. 27th, so check back for a recap of the evening!