SAN ANTONIO (NNS) -- Two Navy Medicine Training Center (NMTC) Sailors of the Quarter based at Fort Sam Houston, joined the Navy Medicine Support Command (NMSC) commander to visit with about 30 children Oct. 27 at the leading children's medical facility in south Texas as part of Navy Week San Antonio.
Rear Adm. Eleanor Valentin, also the Navy's Medical Service Corps director, was visiting San Antonio for the U.S. Navy's largest community outreach effort in south Texas.
Valentin joined Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Albert Ramirez, a Trauma Education Department instructor and coordinator at the Defense Medical Readiness Training Institute, and HM2 Jessica Zugzda, an instructor at Hospital Corps School, at CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Children's Hospital during the hour-long visit.
Caps for Kids, an initiative designed to provide ball caps and other Navy memorabilia to young patients in hospitals throughout the country, began in the early 1990s. Today more than 500 commands - including Navy Medicine commands and military treatment facilities, ships, submarines and squadrons - have donated memorabilia for personal distribution in non-Navy areas.
Valentin said meeting with the patients, parents and staff at Santa Rosa Children's Hospital - the first in the region dedicated entirely to children's patient care - served as an important reminder of how attached Navy Medicine personnel become to the local community.
"Navy Medicine and Navy Medicine Support Command medical professionals have become part of the local San Antonio family," she said. "Spending a little time with young patients and explaining what the Navy and Navy Medicine do around the world can have a very positive impact on San Antonio."
Ramirez, NMTC's Sailor of the Quarter (SOQ) for the third quarter, visited with "Cassandra," one of the young patients who was healthy enough to participate. Cassandra, a San Antonio native, told Ramirez, "This is good. I'm having fun."
For Ramirez, a parent himself, the experience was very emotional.
"This is my first time participating in a Caps for Kids event," he said. "It's pretty humbling. It's a different experience from anything I've ever done. I've spent 13 years deploying around the world, and this is probably the most overwhelming experience I've had yet."
Navy Medicine Training Center at Fort Sam Houston is a subordinate command of Jacksonville-based NMSC, managing Navy Medicine's personnel assigned to the tri-service Medical Education and Training Campus (METC), also located at Fort Sam Houston. METC houses Navy, Army and Air Force enlisted medical training programs, including Hospital Corps School and Navy Medicine "C" Schools. The daily student load is approximately 2,800 Sailors, contributing to 8,000-9,000 total enlisted medical students taught each day from all services, making the METC the largest consolidation of enlisted service training in Department of Defense history.
San Antonio Navy Week, scheduled Oct. 24-30, coincides this year with the Randolph Air Force Base Air Show and the 100th birthday celebration of Naval Aviation. Events during the weeklong outreach are scheduled to include demonstrations from the Blue Angels, as well as Navy Band performances and visits to area from Sailors stationed aboard USS San Antonio (LPD 17) and USS Texas (SSN 775).
NMSC provides a single point of accountability for all education, training, public health and resources for Sailors and Marines as well as providing innovative and responsive leaders in health support services.
Navy Medicine is a global health care network of 63,000 Navy medical personnel around the world who provide high quality health care to more than 1 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.