PORTSMOUTH, Va. (NNS) -- Hockey players and staff members from the Norfolk Admirals visited Naval Medical Center Portsmouth’s (NMCP) Pediatric Ward and the wounded warriors in Patriots Inn to meet patients and give out gifts on Dec. 19.
The Norfolk Admirals are a professional hockey team in the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) who play at Norfolk Scope arena. Ben Holmstrom, the captain and starting center for the Admirals, and other players visited with the wounded warriors in NMCP’s Patriot’s Inn to talk about their experiences and try to brighten their day.
“These are guys who are going through hard times trying to rehab their injuries and health,” Holmstrom said. “Those guys were in really good spirits. It was nice to be able to chat with them. They even made a comment about how it was nice just to have someone from outside the military come by and break up their day. That part was really cool.”
The Admirals gave out tickets to their next game and then moved on to the Inpatient Pediatric Ward to visit the patients and gift them with stuffed animals, as well as a jersey from one of their recent games, for the holiday season.
“These military families are going through hard times, but it gets magnified during the holiday season when you’re separated from you family and friends,” Holmstrom said. “It’s nice to go in there this time of year and break up their routine and the stuff they are going through.”
Kaylyn Garrett, 13, a patient in the Pediatric Ward, said she was overjoyed with the visit from the Admirals and loved the gifts they gave her and her siblings.
“I really like that they took time out of their day and brought things for me and my siblings,” Garrett said. “I would like to thank them, it was very thoughtful for them to come visit, and good luck at your next game!”
For Holmstrom, visiting the military patients and their families is something that means a lot to him and his teammates, more than they would expect.
“It means more to us than they probably realize,” Holmstrom said. “It’s a pretty special thing to go and brighten up their day, and they do a lot more for us than they really ever take credit for. I grew up in Colorado Springs where there is a large military base, and I have grown up always having a lot of respect for those individuals and their families. This was something I enjoy doing, being able to visit these people and make their day a little different.”
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/.