FORT LEE, Va. (Feb. 7, 2013) -- Honoring a proud 112-year history of helping others, Kenner Army Health Clinic celebrated the anniversary of the Army Nurse Corps Friday.

The tribute included a luncheon, remarks by Lt. Col. Richard Prior, deputy commander for nursing at the clinic, and a photo presentation that told the history of the Army Nurse Corps and reflected its tradition of professional and dedicated service.

This annual celebration increases awareness of the contributions and sacrifices made by members of the Army Nurse Corps. "While we take a look back at where we originated, we also look forward to the challenges ahead of us today and in the future," said Prior whose words reflected the theme of this year's anniversary, "A Celebration of Transformation."

As the Army has grown and changed over the years, its corps of military and civilian nurses has expertly adapted to the needs of a transformational force, consistently expanding its roles to support the health care needs of Soldiers and their family members, Prior noted.

"When the Army Nurse Corps was founded in 1901, it was composed of only single white women who lacked uniforms, rank, privileges or any sort of long-term retirement benefits," he said. "Since then, Army Nurses have proven their worth in the provision of patient care and have evolved into full spectrum leaders, as exemplified by Lt. Gen. Patricia D. Horoho's selection as the 43rd Army Surgeon General (in December 2011)."

For the nurses at Kenner, the anniversary celebration is a time to reflect on the history of the corps as well as the time-honored tradition of being trusted caregivers, Prior explained. The impact of Army nurses can be seen in every health clinic, combat hospital and major medical facility across the service. Army nurses have supported every major conflict, from World War I through the current peacekeeping operations in Afghanistan.

"As an Army nurse, I am proud to be part of that legacy," said Capt. Darci Martinez, nurse manager for Troop Medical Clinic 1. "I take my responsibility as a nurse seriously. I know that our nation entrusts Army nurses to provide compassionate care to their sons and daughters."

Martinez has been an Army nurse since 2007. During her career, she has held a variety of positions include service as a medical and surgical nurse and an "Interventional Pain" clinical nurse officer in charge.

"It is a profession that has strengthened my character, diversified my clinical skills and given me courage in knowing that I have a real purpose," Martinez said.

Of the 82 nurses currently on staff at Kenner, four are retired from military service, one is an Army Reservist and six are active-duty Soldiers.

"We all embrace our role in caring for America's sons and daughters," said Martinez. "I work with a caring team of professionals who are experienced and motivated to give everything they can. It's also rewarding because I learn something new every day and our leadership is very supportive of us."

Many civilian nurses also attended Friday's celebration and, according to Angela Allin, a registered nurse in the Wilkerson Pediatric Clinic, they felt a similar sense of pride even though their past experience didn't include actual military service.

"I enjoy working side-by-side with the members of the Army Nurse Corps," she said. "Their discipline and professionalism supersedes any that I've experienced. I admire their commitment to Army Medicine and to making a difference in the lives of military members and their families."

If you would like to learn more about the Army Nurse Corps, visit www.armynursecorps.amedd.army.mil. The website includes anniversary remarks from the Army Surgeon General and a new "Army Nursing Strong" video.

Page last updated Thu February 7th, 2013 at 08:49