JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- Madigan Army Medical Center welcomed its new command sergeant major during a change of responsibility ceremony Oct. 26 in the hospital's Medical Mall.

Command Sgt. Maj. Victor Laragione assumed responsibility of Madigan from outgoing Command Sgt. Maj. Mark Bivins. Laragione is the new senior enlisted leader for the medical center that provides health care for more than 100,000 active duty service members, their families and retirees.

"Command Sgt. Maj. Bivins is a talented, driven and motivated noncommissioned officer. His sense of duty was paralleled by a mature and constantly evolving understanding of the particular challenges of this command," said Col. Thomas Bundt, the Madigan commander.

While he spoke of Bivins' accomplishments, to include leading the hospital through adopting MHS GENESIS, the Department of Defense's new electronic health record, he also shared the compassion that the senior leader embodied such as when Bivins visited an elderly retired patient who was "closing in on his last days."

"He commented on the light returning to the patient's eyes when a command sergeant major walked into the room … he was absolutely full of joy and gratefulness. That element of humanity, compassion and empathy is a part of who he is," said Bundt.

During his tenure, the Kentucky state native also focused on readiness and meeting the standards of the Army Safety and Health Management System. Under Bivins, Madigan received its Joint Commission accreditation to include nine best practices and opened the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Center for Autism Resources, Education and Services -- the first DoD facility of its kind.

"The opportunity to serve here at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Madigan has been a true blessing. I've worked alongside some of the most caring and professional people in today's military. The former Army Chief of Staff Gen. (Raymond) Odierno reminded us that the strength of our nation is the Army; the strength of our Army is our Soldiers; and the strength of our Soldiers are our families, and here at Madigan you take care of those Soldiers and families. Thank you," said Bivins, who is headed next to Fort Bragg, N.C.

Bundt also welcomed Laragione as the new senior enlisted advisor at Madigan.

"Taking on the command sergeant major mantle at any level is really challenging as you well know. This honor is not freely given and the gravity of the responsibility of your charge is our nation's very highest, and that really is to safeguard and lead America's finest," Bundt said.

Laragione is a combat medic by trade, who most recently served as the Troop Command command sergeant major at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.

"I plan on forging a strong relationship with the people of Madigan Army Medical Center and the Joint Base Lewis-McChord community to enable a strong team to weather the storms on the horizon," said Laragione.

The 23-year veteran is a recipient of the Bronze Star Medal and has deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina and Iraq.

"Madigan is known worldwide for leading the way in training, health care delivery, advancing the military health systems," Laragione said. "I'm truly excited to join 'Care with Compassion' team. I look forward to meeting and working with each of you."