PORTSMOUTH, Va. (NNS) -- Naval Medical Center Portsmouth's (NMCP) Religious Program Specialists (RP) celebrated the 41st anniversary of the RP rating in the foyer of NMCP’s historic Bldg. 1 on Jan. 15.
The RPs, along with command leadership, staff chaplains, and fleet RPs and chaplains celebrated the past, present and future of the rating during a cake cutting ceremony.
“I’m really honored to invite you to pray with me, but most especially grateful to recognize and thank the often unsung heroes that continue to ensure the best for those who serve," said Capt. Wayne Haddad, Naval Medical Forces Atlantic staff chaplain. “Our religious program specialist rating, who not only take care of the religious program and its functions, but makes sure our forces are operationally ready by filling in that full domain, allowing the body and mind to work in conjunction with things that pertain to something higher. I’m really pleased to work with this exceptional team here at NMCP as well as the Naval Medical Forces Atlantic enterprise. I’m happy to offer our services because we continue to provide care for those, regardless of religious belief or practice."
Religious Program Specialist 1st Class Rice Croft, Religious Program Specialist 3rd Class’ Crystal Livergood and Aricky Greene, talked about the history of the rating, dating back to 1878. They described how the rating was proposed to the Department of the Navy, the first Religious Program Specialists and the history of the rating in the Marine Corps.
“Today we honor those who have gone before us," Croft said. “We also honor the over 760 active duty military members and over 245 reserve religious specialists who serve today."
CMDCM Michele Sullivan, NMCP's command master chief, talked about her experience with RPs during her career deployments, and expressed her appreciation for them.
“Some don’t realize the efforts and everything that goes behind being a religious specialist," Sullivan said. “These individuals tend to go unrecognized, but they are very vital to our mission and our support. I thank you for what you do."
Capt. Lisa Mulligan, NMCP’s commanding officer, expressed her appreciation for religious program specialists.
“Working at a hospital, it’s a really special mission,” Mulligan said. “To think about the spiritual needs of our patients, we often see people when they are going through life changing events, religious specialists help facilitate taking care of those people and their families. “Though we often think about the spiritual needs of the patients, we must also think about the needs of staff as well. It is emotionally and spiritually draining work sometimes, we benefit immensely from having this program.”
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/.