More than 200 members of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center community were recognized for their efforts in moving WRAMC "ahead" during award ceremonies hosted by Col. Patricia Horoho, Walter Reed Health Care System commander, Oct. 12 and Sept. 5.

"This is a tremendous opportunity by the command to be able to say 'Thank you' for [the staff's] dedication and [their] going the extra mile to make a difference in our organization," said Col. Horoho during last Friday's ceremony in Heaton Pavilion's Joel Auditorium. She hosted similar ceremonies honoring the Walter Reed staff Sept. 5.

"We have really turned the corner," Col. Horoho said. "This organization has 98 years of providing phenomenal patient care, and we are internationally-renowned for what we do. We've also taken the opportunity over the last seven to eight months to critically look at ourselves and to make a difference and change our processes."

Col. Horoho said she has personally received kudos about the work and efforts of the Walter Reed staff from higher headquarters and members of Congress who've visited here. She said many say they can see and feel a new energy and synergy at Walter Reed.

That synergy and its positive outcomes are the results of "each and every [staff member] coming to work everyday and being focused on wanting to make improvements worksites, and I thank you very much for doing that," Col. Horoho said. She added that this is also "an era of opportunity at Walter Reed," explaining the staff is helping to shape the future for the new Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Walter Reed is "a living, viable organization," Col. Horoho said.

"It's a premier organization within the Department of Defense." She challenged people to ask themselves what their commitments are to the organization - "what are you committed to do to improve this organization'" Col. Horoho then recognized individuals "who have led the effort for change" at WRAMC. She honored staff members whose performances were instrumental in enabling Walter Reed to pass an unannounced survey by the Joint Commission during the spring.

"During the unannounced Joint Commission survey, this command was successful because individuals across the command were committed to doing what is right each and every day and ensuring that we had the right procedures and processes in place," Col. Horoho said.

"You responded to a need in the command to improve the environment," she added. "You looked through the lenses of what is best for our Warriors, their Families and our team. Each has been vital in restoring the confidence the American public has in our ability to meet the day-to-day mission of providing Warrior Care."