By Melanie CaseyFebruary 11, 2009
The Army Nurse Corps celebrated its 108th birthday with a cake-cutting Friday at the Kimbrough Ambulatory Care Center Event Center, followed by a retreat ceremony at the installation's flagpole on McGlachlin Parade Field.
The birthday celebration was held, in part, to embrace a new campaign launched by the Army Nurse Corps.
"Embrace the past, engage the present, envision the future," said Col.
Victoria Ransom, deputy commander for nursing at Fort MeadeA,A1s Medical Activity.
The event featured remarks by Ransom and KACC Commander Col. Christopher Castle, as well as recollections by Ransom, Capt. Anthony Cooper and Sgt.
The number of nurses in the Army Nurse Corps peaked during World War II with more than 57,000 members. That number is now down to about 3,000, Ransom said, with 20 of those assigned to Fort MeadeA,A1s MEDDAC.
"Few appreciate a nurse more than I do," said Castle to the crowd, noting that he has undergone several surgeries and has had family members born in military hospitals around the country.
"Nurses have a lot of compassion, but also have a lot of practical advice," he said. "I want to thank you all for that. ... You are the soul of Army medicine." Ransom, along with Cooper, head nurse of Kimbrough's operating room, and Hall, an Army nurse in training working as a licensed practical nurse in the same-day surgery department, spoke briefly about how Army nurses had influenced them.
Cooper recalled realizing the magnitude of his influence as an Army nurse when, after returning from a deployment to Iraq, he was at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and saw one of his patients walking with the aid of prosthetics. "It didnA,A1t hit me until [then]," he said. "What I do makes a difference. My job is a lifeline to someone else." Citing the good turnout for the ceremony, Ransom noted it "isn't unusual. ... [Nurses are] always arm and arm with their colleagues." And although deployed to Iraq, where she has been working with the 10th Combat Action Support Hospital in Baghdad since November, one of those colleagues, Capt.
Ruby Jackson, wasn't forgotten.
"IA,A1m sad that I'm [overseas]," Jackson said via telephone after the ceremony, "but I have so much support from [my colleagues at Kimbrough]. It makes my time easier. I couldn't do it without them." The cake-cutting featured Ransom and Capt. Anna Stull, head nurse of pediatrics in KACC's White Team.
Part of remembering, noted Ransom, is to gather for a Retreat ceremony.
Kimbrough's nurses not only remembered Jackson as they completed the ceremony at the parade field flagpole, but also Capt. Gussie Hall, Capt. Maria Ortiz and others killed in Iraq.
The daily sunset ceremony signaling the end of the duty day, Retreat involves bringing down the American flag and folding it according to regulations.
Joining Cooper in Friday's Retreat ceremony were Kimbrough Army nurses Lt. Col. Jennifer Petersen, Capt. LaTonya Walker, Capt. Anna Stull, Lt. Col. Mimi Veloso and Maj. Paula Vincent as well as Senior Clinical Noncommissioned Officer for the Deputy Commander, Sgt. 1st Class Latisha Robertson.
The event also "offers us a few quiet moments to pay respect to the flag under which we serve," Ransom said.