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Post nurses reach out to Columbus

Post nurses reach out to Columbus

Source: By The Bayonet Cheryl Rodewig

Benning Bayonet, 14 November 2008


Post nurses reach out to Columbus

By The Bayonet Cheryl Rodewig


Nearly 40 people from Martin Army Community Hospital and 14th Combat Support Hospital are signed on to volunteer at shelters in Columbus.

They will bring health education, including guidance for proper nutrition and disease prevention, to the homeless and working poor, where there is a high occurrence of chronic conditions, said MAJ Janet Glenn, who is spearheading the effort.

“It’s important to be aware of the issues in our community,” she said. “Health education is one of the greatest needs. It’s not something on a small scale.”

Volunteers have six charities to choose from: The Salvation Army, Open Door, House of Mercy, Valley Rescue Mission, the Homeless Resource Network and the Enrichment Services Program.

For 2LT Rebekah Geneva, a nurse at Martin Army, Open Door and House of Mercy seem like a good fit.

“It’s a way for me to integrate into the community and help other people,” said Geneva, who moved to Fort Benning from Colorado less than a year ago.

She has been volunteering almost her whole life, she said, so it was natural to help out in Columbus.

“I just felt like that’s the way God intended it to be — for people who are more fortunate to reach out to those who are less fortunate,” she said. “I’m excited. I get to use my nursing skills, something I’ve been blessed with, to bless somebody else.”

Geneva said volunteering helps break down stigmas that surround people. She considers time spent meeting other people’s needs a good investment.

“We live in such a fast-paced society and are so focused on ourselves. When we come outside ourselves and focus on someone else, I just think it makes us healthier,” she said.

MSG Patrick Garnes, chief ward master of 14th CSH, said focusing on others puts his own problems in perspective and gives him a chance to “pay it forward.”

“Doing something for someone, whatever their situation is, it’s a philosophy I live by every single day,” he said. “I know the value of having someone support you and help you back on your feet, and I want to do that for someone else.”

Garnes said he has been “down and out” himself before, but with encouragement from others, people can turn their lives around like he did.

“I know how much it really helps to have someone encourage and motivate you,” he said. “I do believe

with consistent motivation, they can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel and that they can succeed.”

Although Garnes has been on post for only two weeks, he said he is ready to get started.

“If I use (my) time for volunteering, I’m not losing it. I’m doing what I enjoy,” Garnes said. “You can find out so much by talking with people. I may help out somebody today who turns around and helps me out tomorrow.”

The partnership between Martin Army and the shelters is an example of the Army Community Covenant in action.

It was an opportunity for the staff, as members of Fort Benning, to make good on that promise by positively influencing more people than they could in just their daily jobs, said COL Janet Wilson, deputy commander for nursing, who organized the effort.

“The Community Covenant symbolizes an active process between neighbors,” she said. “We have neighbors in need, and the Fort Benning health care community would like to offer our assistance. With this partnership, we have the opportunity to reach out and make a perpetual difference in our community — in someone’s life — and perhaps instill hope where before there may have been none. We have great people doing great things in our hospital each day. This volunteer effort gives us yet another opportunity to demonstrate our motto: “Dedication to Others.”

To help as many people as possible, Glenn plans to go “shopping” for more volunteers. They can volunteer as little as one day a month. The important part is the commitment, she said.

“The more people we have on board, the better,” she said. “It’s not just something for today. It’s something that will continue on and on. That is the goal: to make it a part of us … enlisted, officers, civilians — the Martin Army family.”

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