A Hero to Our Heroes
I’d been walking the floors of the burn unit at Brooke Army Medical Center (B.A.M.C.) since 1998. At the onset of the war, things truly heated up. I no longer had the time to visit with each patient and their families; there were far too many. I was the only volunteer actively visiting patients and I was also heading up a nonprofit for burn survivors, the Moonlight Fund, that consumed much of my time. With so many new burn survivors entering the fold due to the war, I was frantically working to raise the funds to meet the mounting needs of so many wounded military members and also continue to care for civilians who had suffered burn injuries. It was obvious to me that I was not the only one who went above and beyond on the burn unit. I became acutely aware of the many surgeons, PAs, caseworkers, and nurses who were going the extra mile to offer some form of comfort to these wounded military members who seemed to be arriving by the day in increasing numbers. I took special note of one of the nurses, Sgt. Clayton Coomes. I often noticed that he spent time behind closed doors with his wounded brothers, and I often noticed him working beyond his designated hours. I also took note that several of the patients on the burn unit would inquire as to when Clayton would be returning to work and were anxious for his return. It was more than obvious that Clayton had become a “Hero to our wounded Heroes,” and it touched my heart to see another human being giving so much of himself under such stressful and difficult work conditions. I admired Clayton. He embodied the true spirit of a dedicated Soldier.
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