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Navy Medicine East acknowledges veterans’ service

Story by Petty Officer 2nd Class Stephane Belcher

Navy Medicine East

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (Nov. 8, 2017) – Navy Medicine East (NME) honors its veterans’ patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.

Nearly a third of NME’s headquarters staff continue serving the government following their active duty contributions as Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen and Guardsmen.

United States Coast Guard veteran, Gavin Wente, retired as a commander after 30 years. He’s served the U.S. Navy for the past eight years as NME’s Financial Management deputy chief of staff. It’s the Navy Medicine mission that keeps Wente going every day, the mission to keep the Navy and Marine Corps family ready, healthy and on the job.

If Wente is having a bad day, he visits the Wounded Warrior Ward at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth.

“I talk with Sailors and Marines recovering from devastating war related injuries,” said Wente. “That puts things in perspective, and all of the sudden my day is not so bad. I’m here working every day to ensure that across half the globe that NME encompasses, we have the right resources, in the right place, at the right time and in the right amount. We ensure our heroes get the medical care and support they need to continue to provide for the country’s defense or recover from the devastation of war.”

John Blount Jr., a disabled veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder, honorably served in the United States Marine Corps for five years. He works at NME because he wants to help veterans who may be struggling from depression and PTSD after returning from a combat theater.

“I made a commitment and a promise to my troops when I was active duty that I would not sit idle on the sidelines, and urged them to continue our legacy of not leaving anyone behind on the battlefield of life,” said Blount, Web Services lead. “I continue to feel the same way today, and am honored to dedicate my energy and innovation to supporting the care takers who serve our veterans day-by-day.”

Marrisa Sischy, a nurse consultant for NME’s Tidewater Enhanced Multi-Service Market, a retired Navy lieutenant commander with 25 years of service, made her way up the ranks through the Medical Enlisted Commissioning Program.

“I am very grateful for my naval career,” Sischy said. “And I’m especially honored to be able to now share my leadership and management experiences with our junior Sailors in the hopes of helping them achieve their own career goals.”

Bill Downing, NME’s project manager for Virtual Behavioral Health, is a retired hospital corpsman chief petty officer. During Downing’s naval career, he was in several dangerous locations and situations. After losing shipmates and seeing others suffer from mental health issues, he decided to continue to give back through Navy Medicine.

“Working for the Navy allows me to represent those that we lost,” said Downing. “This is my way of saying thank you.”

Veterans Day is intended to honor and thank all military personnel who served the United States in all wars, particularly living veterans.

NME is particularly grateful to its veterans because every day they help maintain the high state of medical readiness our nation demands for our naval forces.

“President George Washington said it best, ‘The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the Veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation,’” said Rear Adm. Anne Swap, commander NME. “The contributions and sacrifices of our veterans, past and present, have earned them our lasting respect and gratitude.”

NME oversees the delivery of medical, dental and other health care services to approximately one million patients across almost 100 facilities—including the Tidewater Military Health System which brings together McDonald Army Health Center, Naval Medical Center Portsmouth and U.S. Air Force Hospital Langley. Plus, its public health activities extend globally. For more information, visit www.med.navy.mil/sites/nme.

Navy Medicine is a global health care network of more than 63,000 Navy medical personnel around the world who provide high quality health care to more than one million eligible beneficiaries. Navy Medicine personnel deploy with Sailors and Marines worldwide, providing critical mission support aboard ship, in the air, under the sea and on the battlefield.

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