Naval Support Activity Bethesda (NSAB) and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) treated military and civilian personnel to a series of fun activities during Staff Appreciation Week, April 16-19. Highlights included a musical jam session, "Spa Day," bowling tournament, and many more events, all aimed at promoting the wellbeing of hardworking base staffers.
"Thank you for what you do here each and every day," said WRNMMC Commander Rear Adm. Alton Stocks to the crowd assembled at the finale luncheon on Thursday. "It's wonderful to get out and celebrate together." Stocks thanked the contributing sponsors for helping put on the luncheon, which featured a drawing for dozens of baskets donated by various departments. Music played over loudspeakers added to the festive atmosphere, and guests danced to remixes of popular hip-hop and disco songs.
"Seeing people dancing was definitely a highlight," said NSAB Commander Capt. Frederick Kass of the luncheon. "I'm thrilled with the turnout. It was great to see so many people actively participating," Kass noted that many events honor the military for their service but this event specifically targeted the unique duties of hospital and base staff.
"It's easy to take for granted the outstanding professional contributions of base personnel, but it's important that we take an occasional time out to recognize the hard work that goes on to make the various missions on base a success," said Kass.
Each day of the week had a different theme. "Mindful Monday," highlighted relaxation techniques, including a tai chi demonstration, visits with hospital therapy dogs, and labyrinth walks. On Tuesday, staff was treated to a "Spa Day," featuring free massages, haircuts and makeovers. Wednesday's activities included a drum circle, musical performance by Charley & Friends, and a bowling tournament. Winners received trophies at the finale luncheon on Thursday.
Neneh Barrie, part of the research team at the Vaccine Healthcare Center (VHC), said the luncheon made her feel very welcome at WRNMMC.
"It was a great chance to get to see everyone, and meet people you wouldn't normally meet because you're all in different departments," said Barrie, who was previously located at the Forest Glen Annex in Silver Spring.
Stephanie Ryder, a health systems specialist with VHC, said she had the most fun participating in the line-dancing at the luncheon. "I hope they do this again next year," said Ryder.
Chisun Chun, deputy commander for healthcare operations and strategic planning at WRNMMC, said Staff Appreciation Week could become an annual event.
"It was truly wonderful to see staff come together to enjoy the festivities," said Chun. "We want everyone to love working here at Walter Reed Bethesda by showing them all the love and care we possibly can."