BALTIMORE (NNS) -- A visit to the hospital is not something people generally look forward to, but for Sailors assigned to USS Constitution a visit to the Mt. Washington Pediatrics Hospital on Oct. 4 was a chance to share some history and spread a little cheer.
The Sailors spent their time talking with the children, showing them pictures of Constitution and retelling some of the ship’s history illustrated with hand drawn pictures.
For Airman Daniel Hensley, interacting with hospital patients, many of whom are still very young, was an intense but rewarding experience.
“It’s a rush of several different emotions and feelings really; it’s a lot of fun and it’s interesting just to see how everybody reacts as well,” said Hensley. ”Just walking in here there’s an aura about the place that is really not only healing to them, it’s healing to me as well.”
One patient in particular caught Hensley’s attention. “Chris is a very special kid. I can already tell just from the few times that he did speak. He’s very quiet, but he’s a very smart, very bright kid.”
Christopher is almost ready to leave the hospital. As he prepares to be discharged, the visit from the Constitution Sailors was a welcome change of pace according to his mother, Patricia Bell.
“It was a really good experience for my son because he’s been through a lot and they actually made his day,” said Bell. “It was a cool experience for me. Christopher enjoyed the Sailors and they were very pleasant and they actually gave him a [inert shell casing].”
“We actually shoot a 40mm saluting battery twice a day off the Constitution, so we have all kinds of expended rounds and we use those as mementos for people like Chris,” Hensley explained. “Its something they can take home that not everyone will have.”
Andy Wayne, the hospital’s director of marketing and communications, helped set up the event to provide young patients with a welcome break from what would have been just another day at the hospital.
“[The Sailors] have done all sorts of activities today,” Wayne said. “[Displaying] swords, reenacting battles, sharing different items from the Navy that give these kids an insight to what happens in the Navy but most importantly they’re providing a really fantastic diversion [for those] who are here staying in the hospital and are ready to get out.”
Community outreach events like this one are part of what makes Maryland Fleet Week and Baltimore Air Show an interesting and educational experience. MDFWASB is Baltimore’s celebration of the sea services and provides an opportunity for the citizens of Maryland and the City of Baltimore to meet Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, as well as see firsthand the latest capabilities of today’s maritime services.
For more news from Naval District Washington, visit www.navy.mil/local/ndw/.