This month kicks off a new year of Giving Your Best award winners... and we're starting off with a bang-- awarding 3 men and saluting them for their service to the community.
Every Friday, Lewis Fierke, Ted Hussey, and Wally Walliser --all submarine veteran chaplains-- visit Georgia Health Sciences Children's Medical Center. They take time talking with young patients and their families... and they present Honorary Sumbariner awards to the children.
Take a look:
Ted Hussey tells a young patient, "You're a submariner and we salute you, you're a shipmate and we salute you."
Every week, these war heroes walk the halls at the Children's Medical Center, telling sea tales, no doubt ... and making honorary submariners, you can also call them sub-mariners, of the littlest patients.
Hussesy: "Each one gets a certificate and a picture of a submarine, or a bunch of submarines- usually the old ones, that are now museum submarines- and then they get a cap that says Honorary Submariner and they become shipmates, and we always make a point to stop in and say, 'how ya doing, shipmate?' just so they'll know we're looking out for them."
Lewis Fierke, Wally Walliser, and Ted Hussey are part of the Chaplains in the Denizens of the Deep Submarine Chapter in Aiken. It's part of a national program through the US Submarine Veterans.
Fierke: "This is a national thing that we do, though. Submarine veterans all over the United States are doing the same thing we're doing, at different hospitals of course."
These veterans who already served our country, continue to serve our community now, on land. And while the children and their parents are excited by the visits, it's the heores who say they get waaay more than they give.
Fierke: "A lot of people say they don't have time for that kind of thing, but to volunteer and get involved with something like these kids, it's worth every minute of it."
Previous GYB award winner, Ed Knight, nominated the men for the award.
"It's terrible that these kids have to go through this and be sick, but I'm so proud that we have somebody who will go out there and look after them."
The visits also impact the healing of these young patients, as the hospital's volunteer coordinator, Samm Fusselle, sees time and time again.
"Just by them entering a room, and of course they give them the little caps, and they walk them through what it's like to be a submarine commander, and these kids take it seriously, and the guys are just wonderful."
We salute veterans Hussey, Fierke and Walliser... and thank you for your service, again.
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