JBPHH - Our Unsung Heroes of 2020

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Treats await the 15th Medical Group service members as a small token of appreciation for their continued hard work at JBPHH.

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The COVID-19 pandemic hit the nation hard and, thus, the island of Hawaii. In 2020 our tiny island of Oahu had over 19,000 cases. It stopped us in our tracks. Well, that is, most of us.

Enter our frontline medical workers. Incessantly they reported to duty into unknown territories and situations. Those in the medical field worked above and beyond the call of duty in this new reality. COVID-19’s novicity to the medical world made us realize the fragility of our daily, which we took for granted. This new infectious disease, a newly discovered coronavirus, created unchartered territory for us. People worldwide were dying, and the answers were limited. But our brave medical service members continued their duty, often working grueling, endless hours. They stood on the frontlines to support those able to regress to the safety of their homes. In the Spring of 2020, USO JBPHH suspended center operations due to COVID-19, but the staff remained active behind closed doors. We supported Restriction Orders of Movements (ROMs), daily Emergency Operations Center food drops, troop movements, deployments, homecomings, service members, and grab ‘n’ go programming for their families. Rebecca, the 15th Medical Group Key Spouse, witnessed the group’s challenges and reached out to us. She was modest about her outreach, unsure of what the USO could offer. Rebecca felt a dire need to express to our frontline workers at the 15th Medical Group that their sacrifice mattered. She was right, and we could help. As the new Center Manager for USO JBPHH, I thought to myself, what can the USO do to remind these exceptional individuals each day that we notice them. That they DO matter, and that is how the banner idea was born. In collaboration with Rebecca, USO JBPHH provided two giant 9x4 ft banners. We placed one at the entrance of the building and one at the indoor patio. This placement would allow the clinic staff and visitors to see them multiple times every day. USO JBPHH designed and ordered the banners on January 5th, 2021. USO JBPHH had the pleasure of presenting the 15th Medical Group staff with their tribute - a daily cue of their impact on their community. Our morning spent with the 15th Medical Group was such an uplifting experience. Their genuine appreciation for a simple recognition shadowed our small effect. These caring, humble, committed service members deserve all the recognition they can get.

So, the next time you casually stroll by one of these unsung heroes, if you can, take a moment and thank them. These two simple words carry a lot more weight right now than you could imagine.

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