WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Aug. 4, 2008) -- The families of Soldiers who undergo surgery at Walter Reed Army Medical Center have a fresh place to rest -- and wait -- while their loved ones are being attended to by Army surgeons. A completely refurbished family waiting room opened here with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday morning.

"All of those entrusted to our care deserve the highest standard of medical care and support possible," said Col. Norvell V. Coots, commander, Walter Reed Health Care System. "We constantly strive to meet and exceed that standard in everything we do. This beautifully improved waiting area will improve the hospital stay for those that spend a few minutes or a hours here."

The room is designed as a comfortable place families can wait while their Soldier is in surgery. The room comes equipped with a flat screen television and computers with access to the internet. The room also features a warm earth-color palette, new carpet, crown molding, and chairs with thick padding and dark leather.

"It's a nice relaxing place for families to spend those critical moments of waiting," Coots said.

The room was paid for and the remodel was coordinated by the Armed Forces Foundation. Patricia Driscoll, president of the AFF, said it was a community of volunteers that helped make the room possible.

"This was a great project and we were glad we were able to do it," Driscoll said. "But it all depends on our volunteers."

Driscoll said that it took volunteers two weeks to completely remodel the room. But those volunteers, more than 50 of them, spent as many as two months on the larger project, which includes two rooms for hospital staffers, a room for teenagers, and a room for younger children.

Maj. Gen. Patricia D. Horoho serves as chief of the Army Nurse Corps and Army Medical Department at the strategic level; she also serves as commander for Madigan Army Medical Center and the Western Regional Medical Command. The general was recently commander, Walter Reed Health Care System. She said she is well aware of the impact contributions of the community have on the wellbeing of Soldiers.

"We have over 160 volunteer organizations that support Walter Reed and 886 volunteers that support us each and every day," she said. "That support allows the Soldier to focus on healing -- and that's the most important thing. That's why community is so important and why the military appreciates that support. They take away any stress and worry Soldiers have so they can focus on healing."

Horoho said volunteer organizations help Soldiers by helping their families through the difficult times that surround a Soldier's injuries and recovery. Such help can include financial support to families that may need to leave their jobs to be with wounded Soldiers, or even plane tickets to get families out to medical facilities like Walter Reed.

Page last updated Mon August 4th, 2008 at 18:00