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Winn unit, others visit elderly at home

First to Care

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POSTED: July 27, 2009 10:22 a.m.
Photo by Frenchi Jones/

Col. Paul Cordts, commander of Fort Stewart and Hunter's Medical and Dental Activity unit, and MEDDAC CSM Dennis Irizarry visit with Barbara Wallace, an Alzheimer's patient in the home's specialty care ward.

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LUDOWICI — Sgt. First Class Audrey McIntee took a knee beside the wheelchair of 91-year-old Faye Darsey.
As she looked her legacy in the eyes, McIntee asked Darsey to share a bit of wisdom with her.
“As a future educator, what advice can you offer me?” she asked.  
“Never give up and always encourage your students to read,” Darsey replied.  
Darsey, who taught for 43 years in Hinesville, is one of an estimated 100 residents living at the Coastal Manor Nursing Home.  
On Saturday, nearly 50 volunteers, including McIntee, visited the home as part of a Winn Army Community Hospital volunteer services initiative.
The project was spearheaded by Brigitte Cabeza- Shanken, director of the hospital’s volunteer services and chairman of the Hinesville Board of Realtors Multicultural and Diversity Committee.  
“Every year we visit patients at the VA hospital in Dublin,” Shanken said. “Because of the distance, we’re not able to visit the VA hospital as much as we’d like, and we like to make a difference in our community. So this year, we started an initiative where we’re going to visit three nursing homes in our community. Because I believe that we have to take care of those at home … If nothing else, just to give them a little TLC and just to let them know that they’re something special to us.”
“Caring and loving is not just for within our hospital,” she added, “that’s why we reach out to our community.”
Besides the soldiers of Fort Stewart’s Medical and Dental Activity unit, there were volunteers from the Hinesville Board of Realtors and the 3rd Infantry Division’s Sergeant Audie Murphy Club.
All were encouraged to visit with the residents and offer them a smile, a hug, a thank you and maybe a hand message or a game of cards.
“These types of place can be very lonely places,” said Col. Paul Cordts, Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Air Field’s MEDDAC commander. “Hinesville … has always been supportive to us. If we can give them a little bit of joy, a little hope, then it’s well worth it.”
Cpt. Revenia Buck brought her husband, First Sgt. Denny Buck, and her twin sons, Devon and Denny II, both 18, out for the event.
“We’ve always involved our family in activities such as these,” she said. “They’ve built the way for us and it is important that we give back.”
McIntee said she received more during the experience than she could have ever given to the residents.
“It was an honor,” she said. “Without them, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”  
 

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