PORTSMOUTH, Va. (NNS) -- PORTSMOUTH, Va. (Dec. 23, 2019) – Naval Medical Center Portsmouth (NMCP), in conjunction with American Red Cross, hosted the 21st annual Operation Bright Light event on Dec. 21.
The annual event brings Santa and his motorcycle-riding “elves” from around Virginia to NMCP to pass out presents to sick children. Members of other motorcycle organizations attended, including Rolling Thunder Chapter 5.
“Our organization started this event many years ago,” said Traci Hackley, president of Rolling Thunder Chapter 5. “Our goal is to brighten up the children’s and their families lives.”
Helping children cope with an illness or injury during a hospital stay or a visit to the emergency room at NMCP is the mission behind Operation Bright Light.
“It is such as scary time for these children and their families,” Hackley said. “We wanted to give them something to hold on to and look forward to. This event does a lot for everyone who is involved as much as it does the children.”
Hackley said that all these years later, she still loves to see the reaction by the children, but even more so the other riders, especially those experiencing the event for the first time.
By the end of the visit, Santa, volunteers and the biker “elves” had visited more than a dozen children in the emergency room, Inpatient Pediatrics Ward, and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU).
As the U.S. Navy's oldest, continuously-operating hospital since 1830, Naval Medical Center Portsmouth proudly serves past and present military members and their families. The national acclaimed, state of the art medical center, along with the area's ten branch and TRICARE Prime Clinics in the Hampton Roads area. The medical center also supports premier research and teaching programs designed to prepare new doctors, nurses and hospital corpsman for future roles in healing and wellness.
For more news from Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, visit www.navy.mil/local/NMCP/.