Every year on November 11, Americans honor all veterans, living and deceased, who have served in the military
during times of war and times of peace. This year, Children's News recognizes all of the service men and women
at Children's Hospital Boston, focusing on a few who are serving now or have served recently.
Being all that she can be
|Faith Patterson has been in the Army Reserve since 1998.
Radiographer Faith Patterson joined the U.
S. Army Reserve the day after she graduated from Boston College.
While eligible to become an officer due to her college degree,
Patterson opted instead to enlist. "I was interested in the radiography program,
which was only offered through enlisting," she explains. "I
had always thought of going into medicine, so it seemed like a
For the next year and
half, Patterson trained all over the countryˇin Missouri, Texas and Washington, DCˇobtaining
her radiography license and returning to Boston in January 2000.
She joined Children's Department of Radiology shortly thereafter,
but continued to attend drill weekends once a month and two-week
training sessions annually as part of active duty.
Just one year
after joining the Children's team, Patterson's unit was deployed
to Kosovo for a peacekeeping mission. "I was really scared,
to be honest," she says. "It was my very first deployment,
and all of the training I'd had up to that point was finally becoming
While in Kosovo for seven
months, Patterson was responsible for diagnostic imaging of
wounded soldiers, from the U.S. and other joint forces from
England, Sweden, Iraq and beyond. She also delivered food to
the surrounding communities and helped train local health care
workers. "We worked 12-hour days while
Patterson. "But I was also able to take a biology class and sing in the
choir on the base. They offered a lot of activities to keep you busy and engaged."Patterson
is currently in the final stretch of her service, with just one and a half years
left to go in the Army Reserve. While she doesn't plan to re-enlist
once her time is up, she says that she would absolutely do it all over again,
if given the chance. "I have so much pride in my country and in wearing
my uniform," she
says. "I love telling people that I'm in the military. You learn such amazing
discipline that you can apply to your life every day. It's really improved me
as a person."
The few. The proud. The Marines.
|Marsh's base camp in the Philippines
Forrest Marsh received the call in 2003 that he would be joining
the more than 1,100 reservists from his U. S. Marine Corps unit
overseas, he had just two days to get his affairs in order before
"It was my first time being called up as a reservist," Marsh
recalls, explaining that after enlisting in the Marine
Forces Reserve in 1984, he served more than four years of active
duty, including some time in Iraq during Operation Desert Storm. "It wasn't a total
shockˇmy platoon had a rough idea that it was comingˇbut
it's still never easy to get the call."
Marsh spent the first
six months of his year-long mission training at Camp Lejeune
in North Carolina. "I attend
drill weekends once a month, and a full, two-week training session annually," he
says. "But at Camp Lejeune, we received more specialized
training to prepare us for the mission at hand."
Following training, Marsh
headed overseas, spending the next six months in Japan and the Philippines. "As
part of the infantry, I went into towns and villages in the Philippines
and conducted searches for Al Qaeda training camps and materials," says
Marsh. "I was nervous every time I entered a new village, but to be
honest, you just go forward and do it."
Having been back for nearly
nine months now, Marsh is looking ahead to retiring as he hits
his 20-year mark in the Marines this month. "Even though I could
retire any time now, I feel like the United States is just too close
to leaving Iraq for me to get out at this point," he says. "I
love being a U.S. Marine, and I plan to continue serving my country until
we leave Iraq."
Marsh is one of more than 20 veterans of wars
dating back to Vietnam in Children's Department of Engineering.
It's not just a job; it's
|(l to r) Pilot Todd Homan, COO Sandra Fenwick and Peter Gerbino, MD.
surgeon Peter Gerbino, MD, initially joined the
U. S. Navy to help pay for his medical education. But his adventures
with the military extended well beyond his degree.
the University of Pittsburgh's School of Medicine on a full Navy
scholarship, Gerbino traveled to California, where he completed
his orthopaedic surgery internship at Oakland Naval Hospital. Following
his internship, he headed to Okinawa, Japan, to take care of people
in the field as part of his operational year. The next year found
him in Portsmouth, Va., for a four-year residency at the Navy Medical
Center. And after that, he spent his final two years of active
duty back in California at the Naval Hospital in Long Beach.
"I hit both coasts and Japan during my eight years
of active duty," says Gerbino,
who hails from Dedham, Mass. "There's a lot of mobility in the military."
chose to join the Navy Reserve after finishing active duty. He also chose
to specialize in Sports Medicine, coming to Children's Hospital
Boston for his fellowship. And after a few years at the University
of Cincinnati Medical Center post-fellowship, Gerbino returned
to Children's Division of Sports Medicine
But his travels were far from over. In March 2003,
while in the OR with a patient, Gerbino received an urgent page
from his wife. "The Navy
was trying to get in touch with me," he recalls. "So my wife gave me a
number to call. The voice on the other line said that I had 72 hours to
report for duty."
Three days later, Gerbino found himself back at
the Naval Medical Center in Virginia. "I
was called to help back-fill for physicians who were deployed overseas," he
says, explaining that while in Portsmouth, he managed mostly standard
orthopaedic surgery. Fortunately, Gerbino's reservist duty only lasted
for three months of the year he had anticipated.
Today, he is part of
the Ready Reserveˇa
group of reservists who will be recalled should something happen to necessitate
an expanded force. In the meantime, he'll continue to serve Children's
patients every day and military patients at Hanscom Air Force Base every
other Thursday. "I
enjoy my association with the Navy," he says. "It's great to see patients
from all different perspectivesˇkeeps
The pen is mightier than
When Army reservist Frank Pigula, MD, associate
in Cardiac Surgery, writes letters to his family from his post at the 325th
Field Hospital in Kandahar, Afghanistan, he doesn't use just any ordinary penˇhe
uses a Freedom Pen custom-made by Children's locksmith John
woodworker in his spare time, Cioffi volunteers as part of the
Freedom Pens Project, an effort spearheaded by members of SawMill
Creek Woodworkers Forums to provide custom, handcrafted pens
to American service men and women overseas. "Woodworkers across
the country are donating their time and talents to create these
our small way of showing support for our troops."
out about Pigula serendipitously. While answering a call to repair
a lock in the Department of Cardiac Surgery one afternoon, Cioffi casually
asked who would be occupying the vacant corner office. Upon learning
that it belonged to Pigula, a lieutenant colonel in the Army
Reserve Medical Corps currently serving overseas, he immediately
thought of making him a Freedom Pen.
"Dr. Frank's pen is a slim line variety that I beefed up a little
to make it sturdier," says Cioffi, who has been working with wood
for more than seven years. "I
hope he enjoys it."
Cioffi has personally made just under 100 pens for the
Freedom Pens Project since it started in January 2004. The project has
already exceeded its goal of shipping 20,000 pens this year. For
more information, visit www.freedompens.org.