FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. - The staff of Raymond W. Bliss Army Health Center gathered May 6 for a Blessing of the Hands ceremony, and May 9 for an ice cream social, to celebrate National Nurses Week, honoring the nurses, military and civilian, who work at the RWBAHC.
During a Blessing of the Hands ceremony 1st Lt. Marissa C. Hammontree, officer in charge of education at the RWBAHC, said National Nurses Week begins each year on May 6, ending on May 12, Florence Nightingale's birthday.
“Florence Nightingale was extremely dedicated to her profession and those she served, earning the nickname ‘The Lady with the Lamp’ because she made rounds with a little lamp in her hand during the Crimean War. Nightingale’s lamp served as a symbol of hope, strength and healing to those she provided care to,” Hammontree said.
Hammontree explained the Blessing of the Hands ceremony and why it was special to the men and women who are nurses.
“Blessing of the Hands is a common ceremony during Nurses Week,” she said. “Human touch is such a vital part of health care [and] blessing of the hands with oils or water is a way to acknowledge the importance, while also honoring the spiritual aspects found in physical care,” she said.
Fort Huachuca Garrison Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Shay Worthy thanked the group of health care professionals who attended the ceremony, saying that the service they provide, “the warmth and compassion, the human touch,” was vital to help comfort those in need.
Worthy then moved down a line of health care professionals, pouring water onto their hands and offering a prayer.
Following the Blessing of the Hands, the RWBAHC Deputy Commander for Nursing, Lt. Col. Charlene Wilson, spoke to the assembly.
“How many of you here became a nurse for the money?” Wilson asked. When no hands were raised she asked, “How many of you became a nurse because you wanted to serve others?” Nearly every hand in the room was raised.
Wilson said that nursing could be a grueling and demanding job, working with the terminally ill or patients who were scared and angry, with long hours and little breaks, but it was a calling all nurses felt and could not ignore.
“At the end of the day we do this because we love it, and it’s who we are,” she said.
# # #
Fort Huachuca is home to the U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence, the U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command (NETCOM)/9th Army Signal Command and more than 48 supported tenants representing a diverse, multiservice population. Our unique environment encompasses 946 square miles of restricted airspace and 2,500 square miles of protected electronic ranges, key components to the national defense mission.
Located in Cochise County, in southeast Arizona, about 15 miles north of the border with Mexico, Fort Huachuca is an Army installation with a rich frontier history. Established in 1877, the Fort was declared a national landmark in 1976.
We are the Army’s Home. Learn more at https://home.army.mil/huachuca/.