Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veteran Hospital celebrated the 2012 National Salute to Hospitalized Veterans on Valentine’s Day.
This could be the banner…
The Salute is an opportunity for the hospital to showcase the care we provide while generating community support and awareness for our Veterans.
The facility theatre served as the rallying spot for more than a 100 supporters. Over 4,000 Valentine cards were presented by local school children for distribution. Chief Joseph Dooley, Voluntary Services and his team, did a great job orchestrating the rally and the most important part of the day the visits to our Veterans.
Veteran supporters were divided into eight groups with each group assigned several units to visit, deliver cards and balloons.
Guests this year included, Coleman Nee, Secretary of Veteran Services, Massachusetts, Oscar DePriest Brigadier General, Col. Stacey Yike Commander, Hanscom Air Force Base, Richard DeNoyer, Commander-in-Chief of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Pam Flaherty, Dean of Students at Middlesex Community College, Beverly ROTC, US Army Research Development and Engineering Center, Natick and numerous Veteran Service Organizations and community leaders.
“I was humbled to have a special team member make visits with me,” said Christine Croteau as she spoke about Navy Captain Thomas Hudner, Jr. Captain Hudner is one of 88 living Medal of Honor recipients. Chief Dooley, provided an introduction at the rally which included Captain Hudner’s brave action for which he earned the first Navy Medal of Honor in Korea.
Veterans and staff alike seemed to truly enjoy the visits. Our Veterans took pause when they learned the identity of the great man delivering Valentines and well wishes.
“For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as a pilot in Fighter Squadron 32, while attempting to rescue a squadron mate whose plane struck by antiaircraft fire and trailing smoke, was forced down behind enemy lines. Quickly maneuvering to circle the downed pilot and protect him from enemy troops infesting the area, Lt. (J.G.) Hudner risked his life to save the injured flier who was trapped alive in the burning wreckage. Fully aware of the extreme danger in landing on the rough mountainous terrain and the scant hope of escape or survival in subzero temperature, he put his plane down skillfully in a deliberate wheels-up landing in the presence of enemy troops. With his bare hands, he packed the fuselage with snow to keep the flames away from the pilot and struggled to pull him free.
Unsuccessful in this, he returned to his crashed aircraft and radioed other airborne planes, requesting that a helicopter be dispatched with an ax and fire extinguisher. He then remained on the spot despite the continuing danger from enemy action and, with the assistance of the rescue pilot, renewed a desperate but unavailing battle against time, cold, and flames. Lt. (J.G.) Hudner’s exceptionally valiant action and selfless devotion to a shipmate sustain and enhance the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.”
The Acting Director offers here sincere thanks to all for a truly wonderful afternoon for our Veterans.
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