PORTSMOUTH, Va. (NNS) -- Members of the Civil Engineer Corps Officers’ Spouses Club-Hampton Roads decorated Naval Medical Center Portsmouth’s (NMCP) Pediatric Ward for the 22nd consecutive year on Dec. 3.
The theme was “Snow Fun” and had many snowmen taking part in various holiday festivities along the walls and doors of the ward.
“We want to make a difference in the life of a child,” said Mary Butrym, the president of the Civil Engineer Corps Officers’ Spouses Club-Hampton Roads. “Especially a military child, their families and even the staff in the Pediatric Unit. The Spouses club embraces it for the difference it makes in the life of a military child.”
They have developed three rotating themes – snowmen, gingerbread and trains. Over the years, the club has worked to make the decorations reusable by laminating more individual pieces of the chosen theme every year, and then attaching them to a new background paper for that year’s display.
“They are a fantastic group,” said Chris Brogan, a child life specialist at NMCP. “They are so kind hearted. They just want to continue to do this year after year. They spend quite a bit of time in preparation before even coming here then spend hours on the day actually putting them up. They just have this great positive energy that they bring to the kids.”
This year, a patient participated in the activities. Kaylyn Garret, 13, and her mother Kimberly, helped out in preparing decorations and hanging them up around the ward.
“I am really excited when a patient can help out,” Brogan said. “This year, we have a patient that was well enough to participate and was very excited about it. I told her about the group coming and she perked up right away. For me, that’s a bonus for patient care because we elevate her mood, get her to stop thinking about medical things, and to be focused on something fun and positive. It’s a great lifting of spirit. She gets to be part of this and feel like she is part of the ward. She’s here for a while, and we are a part of her extended family. When you’re family, you decorate together and that’s what we are doing.”
The club also makes an annual donation to the ward – this year $250 – which was accepted by Chris Brogan, who will use the funds to help purchase items to boost the morale of pediatric patients and their families.
As the U. S. Navy's oldest, continuously-operating military treatment facility since 1830, Naval Medical Center Portsmouth proudly serves past and present military members and their families. The nationally acclaimed, state of the art medical center, including its ten branch and TRICARE Prime clinics, serves the Hampton Roads area. Additionally, NMCP offers premier research and teaching programs designed to prepare new doctors, nurses and hospital corpsmen for future roles in healing and wellness.
For more news from Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, visit www.navy.mil/local/NMCP/.