The Fort Stewart Medical Department Activity held a ceremony July 31 to thank and honor teens who volunteered throughout the organization during the summer months.
Currently in its 13th year, the eight-week summer youth volunteer program is a collaborative partnership between Fort Stewart MEDDAC and the American Red Cross. Program coordinator Brigitte Shanken said the intent is to expose teens to all aspects of the organization, not just the medical side.
High-school senior JaQuan Hutcherson said volunteering at a hospital wasn’t his first choice when choosing how to complete his community service requirement. However, after meeting with Shanken, he said he was curious.
“I told Mrs. Shanken I was thinking about becoming an engineer and she quickly told me that there was much I could learn should I decide to volunteer at the hospital,” Hutcherson said. “I ended up volunteering in the medical maintenance shop and I will never forget my experience. Becoming a doctor and dealing with all the blood and gore definitely isn’t my style, but maybe down the road I could work behind the scenes as a bio-medical engineer and create machines that help the rest of the hospital staff save lives.”
Hutcherson, along with 23 other teenagers, received certificates of appreciation from MEDDAC Commander Col. Kirk W. Eggleston, who thanked the volunteers for not only their work, but, more importantly, for their time.
“You could have done a lot of other things with your time this summer,” Eggleston said. “But you chose to give of yourselves, which fits with the motto of this organization, ‘Health through Service’.
“Some of you helped by answering the phones, some of you were actively involved in assisting our patients, but just the fact that you were happy and smiling is a big help because in an organization like this — where people typically come in not feeling their best or worried about a family member — just receiving a warm greeting and seeing a smiling face is important,” he said. “What you did was provide a service and I want to thank you for that.”