Saturday, February 27, 2010
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Friday, February 19, 2010
On Monday, Sailors from the pastoral care department brought toys and clothes to children who are being treated at the University of Miami Field Hospital.
Volunteers there greeted our Sailors with open arms and welcomed their desire to help. The head volunteer RN there said, “The kids get bored and [the Sailors] play with them so that leaves more time to attend to the really sick ones, the ones who can’t get out of bed.”
Chaplian Joe Molina organized the day’s events, working with St. Margaret Mary’s Catholic School in Winter Part, Fla. Kids from the school donated toys, clothes, games and books to patients to help ease the transition of a country in ruins to one being reborn. Their generosity came at a time when leisure diversions are scarce in the Haiti.
The items were originally intended for patients being treated aboard Comfort, but the donations were so bountiful, Molina had more than enough to distribute them to other children in need.
Everyone who participated said they really enjoyed the opportunity to provide something for the kids there to help ease there troubles in some small way.
Comfort is not currently accepting donations, but if you are interested in providing donations to Haiti, USAID recommends assisting relief efforts by making cash contributions to humanitarian organizations that are conducting relief operations. Information on organizations responding to the humanitarian situation in Haiti may be available at http://www.reliefweb.int/ and www.usaid.gov/haiti. USAID encourages cash donations because they allow aid professionals to procure the exact items needed (often in the affected region); reduce the burden on scarce resources (such as transportation routes, staff time, and warehouse space); can be transferred very quickly and without transportation costs; support the economy of the disaster-stricken region; and ensure culturally, dietary, and environmentally appropriate assistance.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
What started as a solemn service to remember the estimated 200,000 individuals who lost their lives and 300,000 injured turned to inspirational singing.
Comfort's chaplains, several Red Cross workers and patients felt a service conveying a feeling of hope would be beneficial to everyone aboard the hospital ship. The service included prayers and singing as well as a public reading by Lt. Yonnette Thomas of a letter of appreciation from a former Comfort patient.
The letter said, "'I know if you weren't here, many of us would be dead. This is the biggest proof of love the U.S. could offer the Haitian people. You have given us life.'"
Prayers were lead by Comfort chaplains and Red Cross volunteer Rev. Noster Montas. Singing was led by The Joyful Noise Choir and Red Cross translator Simpson St. Fort. The ceremony concluded with a benediction led by Comfort Chaplain John Franklin.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Saturday, February 13, 2010
I’ll forever remember the evening when a couple mothers started singing quietly. Within minutes more than 40 children and escorts were singing hymns and spirituals together. Forgotten was the pain of missing limbs, open wounds or lost family. Forgotten was the exhaustion and weariness that had been weighing us down. At that time all those present-- patients, escorts and staff-- bonded together as those with so little lifted up their voices and hands in praise to God. That evening made every hardship worth it for me.
Seeing the precious children return to their families makes everything worth it.
Lt. Kenneth M. Cole, NC
3 Forward Pediatrics Ward
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
One evening last week there was an incredible event that took place on 3 Forward, a pediatric overflow ward. We were near capacity with children, parents or other family as escorts - families that had suffered such horrific times with unimaginable losses - family members, homes, and life threatening injuries. Softly and gently a few women began to sing. They were singing in Creole some of their familiar hymns and spirituals. The sounds were so soothing and melodic. As they continued several other parents and escorts joined in – soon all the children were singing and dancing to the enchanting sounds. Within minutes the entire ward was transformed into a place of joy. The staff and visitors were swaying to the music and every single person had a smile on their face. Over that amazing time we all bonded in a way that could not have ever been imagined. We were ONE in spite of all the sorrow, sadness and weariness; we were united in our humanity and purpose. Each person was uplifted as this glorious praise to God soared to the heavens from a hospital ship, the USNS Comfort anchored near such a devastated nation. In such times of chaos and loss it is so inspiring to witness such steadfast faith and devotion. We were all truly blessed to be a part of that precious moment and this mission. This is truly something that I will remember and cherish my whole life. Amen, Amen, Amen
Norah Bertschy, CAPT, NC
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
As I approached this big white ship splashed with numerous red crosses I knew what our mission was: to provide care and comfort to those affected by the massive earthquake. I quickly learned the seriousness of the natural disaster after seeing a majority of the patients on board and the types of injuries that were sustained.
I work in the laboratory so I am “behind the scenes” when it comes to patient care, but I treat each specimen tube or sample as if it was my son or daughter's. I do also make sure that I walk through the inpatient areas and ICU’s to help refocus the reason I am here. I find it hard sometimes to cope with what I have seen but it also helps to reaffirm why I am here and what role I play during this mission.
I am grateful to have been part of the best medical crew to sail over the open water. And I say to the countless victims in Haiti, we are here for you.
HM2 Justin W. La Croix, Comfort Main Laboratory
Monday, February 8, 2010
Last night I gained a new friend. He is a tiny little guy on the peds ward. I was going to the ward to get some information from one of my Sailors. As I was walking around the ward to find the Sailor, a little boy with one eye (the one I told you about) came up to me. He reached up to grab my finger and started pulling me along, as if to take a walk. Some of the other patients on the ward were singing and clapping. We walked/danced over to them and joined in. He can keep a beat very well. At one point he was tapping his foot, too. The smile one his face was so beautiful. We danced and clapped for a little bit then continued walking around the nurse’s station back to his mom. One of the Nurses on the ward had a camera and took a picture of us while we were walking.
I love you and will keep you posted on more amazing moments like this.