When winter weather threatened to prevent Service Members from bringing their furry family members with them to their overseas assignment, the Army Public Health community sprang into action.

A Service Member contacted the Naples Veterinary Treatment Facility via social media earlier this month, to request their assistance with new health certificates for their pets, because they had gotten delayed at Naval Station Norfolk, Va., due to inclement weather that grounded aircraft and caused a base closure.

"Pet health certificates for travel to Europe are only good for 10 days, and because of the delay, there were five pets with health certificates that would expire before the next available flight," said Maj. Angelina Gerardo, Public Health Activity-Italy deputy commander. "The families could have sought out a civilian veterinarian, but we thought that the Army Veterinary family could do better than that!"

Gerardo says that Capt. Kate Fodor, the officer in charge of the Naples VTF, contacted the Norfolk Veterinary Treatment Facility and explained the situation and the Norfolk team was more than happy to assist.

"Despite the inclement weather and fact that it was a Saturday, Maj. Sean Stockwell, the Norfolk VTF OIC, opened the clinic and he and his staff issued new health certificates to the families for their four-legged family members," Gerardo said. "Thanks to their willingness to go above and beyond, these families were able to travel with their pets without further delay."

Col. Rebecca Porter, Public Health Command Europe commander, said this demonstrates the initiative and teamwork that make our Army Strong.

"I could not be more pleased to see how Public Health activities across two continents worked together to take care of our population," Porter said. "This kind of coordination contributes to Public Health Command Europe and our sister public health commands being the first line of defense against preventable disease and injury. We are the foundation for readiness in our great Army."