THE Guam Memorial Hospital’s Skilled Nursing Unit in Barrigada Heights received some special visitors yesterday.
Dr. John Steele, medical director of Guam Memorial Hospital Skilled Nursing Unit in Barrigada Heights, expresses his gratitude to the 25 Marines of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit from the USS Essex for taking time from their busy schedule to visit the facility and do community service yesterday. The Marines were treated to a fiesta meal during lunch time.
Twenty-five Marines of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit flew to Guam from the USS Essex and volunteered their time to assist patients and do some small landscaping at the facility.
Dr. John Steele, medical director of the Skilled Nursing Unit, said the visit was much appreciated.
“They make such a fine effort in community relations and getting together with the community and I think that builds up a nice relationship between the two and what lies ahead of us here on Guam, a nice close complimentary working relationship between both groups and this is part of accomplishing that,” he said.
Alesia Ogo, chief of rehabilitation services at the facility, said the presence of Marines inspired both their patients and personnel.
“It shows the community that the Marines are a good presence here on Guam,” said Ogo. “They’re going to be coming to our island (and) they want to show they can be of assistance to our island and can be a positive impact to our island. They can help us with things around the unit that we’ve been having a hard time getting done due to a lack of man power.”
“A lot of the time, patients are secluded and don’t have people who visit them and these are the people who fill in those gaps who have nobody to visit them so it’s nice for the patients,” she added.
The Marines entertained the patients with Karaoke songs and some even received haircuts like Joe Nededog, 62, of Latte Heights.
Nededog, who served in the Marine Corps in the 1970s, expressed his appreciation to the Marines at the facility with a smile.
“They’re good. They’re very nice,” he said.
Marine Corporal Joe “Black bear” Sharp, a civil engineer for the 31st MEU, cut Nededog’s hair.
Sharp said he and his fellow Marines are enjoying themselves on the island even though it’s only for a short time.
“It’s a privilege coming to the island. The hospitality is wonderful. Everyone is very kind and very respectful. It’s a wonderful thing how Guam is taking in the Marine Corps and treating us like family,” he said.
Sharp, a Navajo-descent from Arizona, said there are similarities between the indigenous people of Guam and their Indian Tribe.“Family comes before everything else. The Native Americans are open people and loving. You see that in the Guam culture as well. It’s very close, loving, accepting everyone. Very open hearted and not narrow minded,” he said.