February 16, 2012 – Mercy Hall
We’re back! Thursday’s luncheon was such a change from the last few Mercy Hall luncheons in 2011. ‘Round about June 2011 we began noticing the changes having to do with the transition of Walter Reed to Bethesda taking place at the barracks.
We learned that the Marines were out and about on internships throughout the DC area, and that the internships would be going on indefinitely Saw the same thing in August and October, and instead of hosting our “Holiday Cheer” event at the transition barracks, we asked for permission to hold it on 4 East so we could serve more patients and family members. The barracks had been under remodeling, residents moving out, new ones moving in, new staff working there… it was very different those last few months.
I think people are settling in now. New staff again, new Marines and Soldiers living there, and the energy was totally different. Much more upbeat than it had been. One thing we learned was that those living in Mercy Hall do not have caregivers/family members with them, whereas at Tranquility Hall, they do. All the more reason to continue at Mercy Hall!.
And they posted our flier! Yay!
We were delighted to see one of the Marines we met at Richmond in December roll into the room in his wheelchair. Who would have thunk it??? This is a huge step for him and means he has moved on to the next step in his road to recovery. He had lunch with us and we filled a grocery bag full of food and drinks for him to take back to his room.
One of the Marines we spoke to had a silver badge with what looked like wings on his uniform. I didn’t think they were Aviator wings so asked him about it and he told me they were his “jump wings”. The center of the badge is a parachute.
I could swear it looked more like this one, though. Yes, Janie’s easily confused. His was sliver, though.
He earned them after going to Army Airborne School at Fort Benning. The Marines train with Army for basic parachutist stuff, then the Marines take over for the more advanced training. He had been with a CEB and jump school was his reenlistment incentive. Told me he had completed 6 jumps. Ten jumps and their wings are gold. He told me about all of the different aircraft they jump out of. Pretty impressive…
We hit some rain on the way over and back. When I arrived, Grace was there with herBBQ Chicken Sliders and the tables were set up. She helped me unload. Katie was parking. Robin arrived and then Jess arrived with her massage chair. Sally wasn’t able to make it after all but sent along her Texas Beef Chili. Robin had her Tortellini Skewers and there was a garden salad, fresh fruit, cheese and pepperoni, two kinds of cole slaw, potato salad, desserts and assorted drinks.
Toward the end of the luncheon two Marines came in. One of them was carrying a cardboard box about the size of a shoebox and told us he just gotten his new hand. He was pretty excited about it.
We asked him if he would mind showing it to us so he took it out and let us see it. He gave me permission to take pictures of it. Jess is holding it.
He had lost his forefinger and thumb so the prosthetic will slip over his hand and three fingers. The Marine told us his left hand had been used as a model to make the new one. There is a wire inside of the forefinger that eventually will enable him to have movement in it. From the hair on the wrist to the shine on the fingernails it was very realistic looking, even down to the skin tone. Amazing.
After we packed up, Katie and I went over to the hospital to check on something we have up our sleeves that’s still in the planning process right now.. One of the Liaison Marines was standing outside waiting for a VIP to arrive and escort, so we spoke to him for a few minutes. On the way out of the hospital we poked our heads into the Liaison office to say hello, tell them we missed them, and asked why they didn’t come over.
So that was what that chartered bus was that I saw drive by Mercy Hall! The Marines from the Liaison office had been taking the 1/6 Marines from room to room to catch up with the guys who had come back early by way of Landstuhl. I KNOW this meant a LOT to every single one of those1/6 Marines! What a wonderful thing for them to do!
Great luncheon, great people. Thank you Grace, Katie, Robin and Jess for your help!
Job Well Done!
Until next time, continued prayers for our military and their families.
Love and Hugs,
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