We only visited the Walter Reed facility this month. NJ Monthly is doing an article on our visits and the Marines Helping Marines program. We could not get approval from Bethesda Naval hospital as they do things a little different there. Also from what we heard, there were no Marines to visit on the floor. I guess someone forgot to tell them that we donít just visit Marines. We want to visit everyone who is defending our freedom.
Jane and Peter from NJ Monthly magazine had a great time from what I saw. They spent a lot of time talking and, at times, interviewing us on the train. Peter took a ton of pictures from the moment we left Newark Penn station until we returned to New Jersey. It was a pleasure to spend time with them and hopefully they felt the same way about us. I am looking forward to reading the article in the coming months. †
The new changes in place from the hospital administration on how and where we visit the wounded men and women put a little damper on our visit. In addition, we are not allowed into the Rehab facility to talk to the patients while they are doing their rehab. This I can understand.
We are now setting up camp on the first floor waiting room and to say itís a little tight would be putting it mildly. As I have said before, there is very little room to maneuver with the wounded in their wheelchairs, walking canes and family members, some with baby carriages. Add 8 more bodies, and our luggage with the items we brought, and the scene turns into looking like we are at a carousel at an airport trying to get our bags after a flight. This I do not like or agree with, but then again itís not about us, itís about the men, women, and their families.
We visited approximately 15-18 young men and their families. There were both Marines and Soldiers some of whom we have seen during previous visits. Cpl Kenny Lyons was now wheeling himself around the hospital on a two-wheeled vehicle that you see some security people using at the local mall. He seemed pretty happy with using it and is scheduled for an operation on his face later this month. I told him to say hello to his mother for us from the Slattery Detachment.
Another Marine saw was Josh, a double leg amputee with some of the most Hi-Tech stuff I have ever seen on a human body. He was wearing two motorized prosthetics legs complete with LED lights and a tone that goes off when the legs are ready to move. It in a sense is like a microwave. You push the button, the tone goes off and he then starts walking. Absolutely amazing! Itís like a scene out of the movie Transformers. We have seen this Marine for the past 6 or 7 months and his smile and handshake get bigger and stronger every time we meet.
We visited everyone who was in the waiting area and even talked to a few who were passing by. We sat and talked to a few Soldiers and the normal barbs went back and forth about the Army and Marine Corps. The best one I heard was told to Marc. The soldier told him, ďOh yea, you are the guys with the ĎPRETTY UNIFORMSí!Ē Good one. I had to crack smile on that one. There were 2 Soldiers who had their wives and newborn babies with them. Of course we gave out the Dress Blue Bears, which went over very well.