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Hospital Happenings

News | Feb. 23, 2024

BJACH NCOs Support Regional 4-H Camp

By Jean Graves, Medical Readiness Command, West

Sgt. 1st Class John Martinez and Staff Sgt. Andres Perez from Bayne-Jones Army Community Hospital conducted stop the bleed training and shared information about their military careers Feb. 23, during the 4-H Victory Challenge Camp in Anacoco, Louisiana.

Ester Coco Boe, Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, 4-H Central Regional Coordinator, said challenge camp is an annual event for the ten parishes in the region.

“Each year, a different parish hosts the camp,” she said. “This year we had a patriotic theme. In addition to team building skills, we also performed acts of service.”

Coco Boe said the 70 campers wanted to show appreciation for those who’ve served by making quilt tops for Quilts of Valor. The organization donates machine or hand sewn quilts to service members or veterans who have been touched by war.

Martinez, a combat medical specialist, and Perez, an operating room specialist, engaged with campers to help them learn more about active-duty service in military medical occupational specialties.

Martinez said it’s important to educate the next generation about careers in the military.

“Despite coming from a military background, I didn’t feel like there were any opportunities to learn about the military firsthand from service members when I was growing up,” he said. “It’s important for me to talk to these kids about my career and how rewarding serving in the Army has been for me.”

Perez said community engagements in the schools and at camps like this are beneficial for students.

“As an NCO it’s important to influence the next generation of leaders in a positive way,” he said. “Today, we were able to demonstrate positive future career opportunities for these kids.”

Perez said he hoped the campers left with a better understanding of the possibilities available to them in the U.S. Army.

Tiffany Koch, school liaison officer for the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Johnson coordinated BJACH’s participation in this year’s camp.

Koch said it’s important for Soldiers to engage with school-aged children whenever opportunities arise.

“It’s a sense of community,” she said. “These kids understand that Soldiers fight and win our nations wars, but that’s all they really think about. As I’ve traveled around the state, I’ve noticed that kids think Soldiers are GI JOEs running around Fort Johnson all day shooting guns and blowing things up.”

Koch said it’s valuable for kids to see a different side to the armed forces.

“It’s really neat for kids to learn more about Soldiers, their backgrounds, where they come from, why they serve and what their jobs entail,” she said.

Koch said outreach opportunities give children the chance to really connect with Soldiers.

“Events like this help kids better understand the cool things Soldiers get to do. They also learn that Soldiers have children and families too,” she said. “Connecting our military members with our community like this is rewarding for all parties involved.”

Koch said she provides an important resource for military Families.

“All installations across the Department of Defense have a school liaison officer,” she said. “We are the connection to help military kids find programs like the 4-H. The biggest thing that makes a child and a family feel welcome and part of their community is through programs and activities children are interested in.”

Koch said she can help children find activities they are interested to build that sense of community, helping to ensure a successful transition from duty station to duty station.
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