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God, Country, Notre Dame

Nov 11, 2013, 11:07 AM EDT

On Friday, November 8, 2013, in honor of Veterans Day, members of the Monogram Club staff and board of directors visited our nation’s heroes at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. (just outside of Washington, D.C.). Currently awaiting confirmation on his appointment as Brigadier General, board member Colonel Bryan Fenton (’87, manager) arranged the visit for Monogram Club membership coordinator Michael Sullivan (’09, manager), president Haley Scott DeMaria (’95, swimming), advisor Tom Galloway (’87, football), director Chris Stevens (’74, basketball) and ’97 football alum Randy Kinder.

There really are no words to adequately describe the experience. But I will try.

We arrived at Bethesda Walter Reed and were immediately greeted with gratitude. “Thank you for coming.” “We can’t tell you how much this will mean to our patients.” “We are so grateful you took the time to visit today.” Wow. We were there to say thank you to our servicemen and we were grateful for the opportunity to do so.

It is a very intimate moment to walk into a patient’s room. Many heroes had just come out of surgery, most were recovering with open wounds from infection or an amputation; some had returned months or years after their initial injury for follow-up care. Their days are filled with waiting, resting, updates from the doctor, and more waiting. Each patient is allowed a caregiver to stay with them, usually a parent, a spouse or a family member. For them, there is waiting, resting and worry that they often don’t want to show to their injured loved one. These are long, quiet days during a very personal and private time. And yet they welcomed us – strangers – to share a moment with them. It was a true privilege to spend each minute we did with our nation’s heroes.

Colonel Fenton is amazing. While most of us were in awe of their attitudes and injuries, Colonel Fenton gave them what they needed most: a bit of normalcy, a little ribbing and joking from a fellow serviceman. He made them laugh, or at least smile, while the rest of us watched with gratitude.

God, Country, Notre Dame.
Happy Veterans Day to our military service men and women, their families and those who care for them.

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