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    NMCP Hosts Operation PEACE

    NMCP Hosts Operation PEACE

    Photo By Seaman Imani Daniels | PORTSMOUTH, Va. (Dec. 16, 2019) Miss Virginia title holders and Miss District of...... read more read more



    Story by Seaman Imani Daniels 

    Naval Medical Center - Portsmouth

    PORTSMOUTH, Va. (Dec. 16, 2019) Naval Medical Center Portsmouth’s (NMCP) Pediatric Inpatient Ward welcomed Miss Virginia local titleholders and a Miss District of Columbia finalist for Operation PEACE on Dec. 16. The young women stopped by the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and Hematology/Oncology wards to speak with the children and gift them with Christmas presents ahead of the holidays. The event was organized by Ensign Andolyn Medina. This is the 13th annual Operation PEACE.

    Medina, whose parents are both retired naval officers, was a patient in the Pediatrics Department on Easter Sunday 15 years ago and said she missed out on a lot of holiday traditions with her family during that holiday. When 8-year-old Medina recovered, she spoke with her mom about how she could give back. Medina was also competing in junior beauty pageants and used her network of pageant competitors to start the holiday visit tradition to include many former Miss Virginias. Medina is a former Miss Virginia’s Outstanding Teen and Preteen and a prior Miss Virginia local titleholder and current Miss District of Columbia 1st runner up. She has volunteered as an American Red Cross volunteer on the Hematology/Oncology wards as well as completed an internship alongside Chris Brogan, NMCP’s child life specialist.

    “As a military dependent myself and having experienced being hospitalized during the holiday, it was very important for me to find a way to give back to the kids,” Medina said. “It is a struggle to balance dealing with parents being deployed and/or away, on top of going through struggles medically.”

    Operation PEACE (Peer Empowerment and Community Engagement) is an organization founded by Medina. The organization has been her platform for more than 10 years.

    “I’ve had surgeries at NMCP, so I knew firsthand what it was like to be hospitalized here as a child,” Medina said. “I’ve always loved working with the children and I love the holidays. I wanted to bring along with me other local titleholders so they can see firsthand what NMCP is about and be engaged with this community.”

    Members from the Miss Virginia organization present included Breana Turner, Miss Greater Charlottesville; Chelsea Saunders, former Miss Virginia Beach; and Dot Kelly, Miss Arlington.

    “It was awesome being able to see the kids’ faces light up when we came in with gifts,” Turner said. “We wanted to share holiday cheer. I will always hold this memory close to my heart.”

    The gifts given to the children were purchased by Medina and members from the Miss Virginia organization, and were also collected from donations, initiated by Medina, from the community.

    “Today was incredible,” Saunders said. “I know the hospital is not a fun place to be, but being able to brighten their day means everything to me.”
    These pageant queens want to encourage the spirit of volunteerism and promote good will.

    “This has been a really wonderful opportunity,” Kelly said. “Being a military kid myself, just giving back to the family means so much, especially over the holiday season.”

    As the U.S. Navy's oldest, continuously-operating military hospital since 1830, Naval Medical Center Portsmouth proudly serves past and present military members and their families. The nationally-acclaimed, state-of-the-art medical center, along with the area's 10 branch health and TRICARE Prime Clinics, provide care for the Hampton Roads area. The medical center also supports premier research and teaching programs designed to prepare new doctors, nurses and hospital corpsman for future roles in healing and wellness.



    Date Taken: 12.16.2019
    Date Posted: 12.19.2019 14:16
    Story ID: 356554
    Location: PORTSMOUTH, VA, US 

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