Holiday Gratitude: DASD John Campbell Visits Injured Troops, Veterans, and Families

Gingerbread replica of Walter Reed Military Medical Center - Bethesda

Mr. John Campbell, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Wounded Warrior Care and Transition Policy, visited Walter Reed National Military Medical Center at Bethesda last week to spend some time with wounded troops and their families before the holidays.  Rear Admiral Stocks, the hospital Commander, had the halls decorated for the season, and the hospital was as busy as ever, with the troops receiving the same top-quality care they always do.

During his visit, Mr. Campbell sat with Army Sergeant Aaron Hale and his wife. SGT Hale, an Explosive Ordnance Disposal technician, was about to go into surgery for an eye injury he received in Afghanistan. Despite his serious injury, he was upbeat and looking forward to the upcoming holiday following his surgery.

Mr. Campbell also spent some time with Steven Vogt who drove all the way from Ohio to spend the holidays with his son, First Lieutenant Nicholas Vogt, who was still recovering from surgery. Mr. Campbell told Mr. Vogt that his son represents the best this country has to offer and added,  “We are with you 110%, and will do anything that your son or your family needs to recover.”

DASD John Campbell and CAPT Constance Evans at New Walter Reed

Mr. John Campbell speaks with CAPT Constance Evans, Director of the Warrior Family Coordination Cell at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, about the warriors and their families being treated there over the holidays.

On Christmas Day, Mr. Campbell and his wife also visited a VA hospital on East 23rd Street near their home in New York City. They were escorted around the facility by a fellow former Marine named Gunnery Sergeant Anderson who now works there as a VA police officer. Mr. Campbell and his wife visited four wards and met more than fifty veterans. He called the experience very meaningful: “It was an honor to be able to spend Christmas with so many veterans of all generations, especially those who did not have any family to share the celebration with. We must not forget, going into the New Year, what these brave men and women have done for our nation. It was a privilege to be a part of their holiday.”

The holiday season is a critical time in the lives of our recovering Service members. It is a time for families to come together and celebrate each other and reinvigorate Service members with the strength they need on their road to recovery.

It is also a time for all of us to let Service members know how much we appreciate what they have done and will continue to do for our nation. If you can, take some time to reach out to Service members and their families and express your gratitude, as Mr. Campbell did last week. It will mean so much to them, and will help them in their recovery.

We would also like to thank you for all you do to support our recovering Service members and wounded warriors, and we wish you and your family happy holidays and a safe and prosperous 2012.