A Visit from the Angels
By Sgt. Danny L. Patterson
| | August 27, 2004
MARINE CORPS RECRUITING STATION BUFFALO, N.Y. --
The U.S. Navy Blue Angels spend a lot of their time practicing precision flying skills. Even though they are busy performing at various air shows around the U.S., they take time before each show to share their experiences with people less fortunate such as a recent visit to Niagara Falls, N.Y.
Navy Lt. Gary Mullen, flight surgeon, and Petty Officer 1st Class Michelle Ashton, corpsman, for the Blue Angels, along with the Commanding Officer of Marine Corps Recruiting Station Buffalo, N.Y., Maj. Lawrence M. Landon, visited the Child Life Program of the Children's Hospital of Buffalo, N.Y., Aug. 27.
The role of the Child Life Department is to provide support, facilitate coping, minimize emotional trauma, encourage normal growth and development, and foster essential life experiences for infants, children, adolescents and families, according to Maureen Robertson, child life specialist for the Child Life Program.
Once the team arrived at the hospital, they went room-to-room visiting nearly 25 children. The children Mullen talked to each child and talked about the Blue Angels and gave them posters and stickers. Each child also received a lanyard and stickers courtesy of the Marine Corps.
"During the visits, we try to motivate the kids and cheer them up to bring happiness into their situation," Mullen explained. "Seeing each child smile is the best part of the job."
According to Robertson, the children were excited to see the Blue Angels.
"Even though the visit was earlier than most of the children usually get up, most were awake and eager to meet the Angels," Robertson said. "The children really enjoyed the visit and each child was smiling when they left the room."
With hopes that the team's goals were achieved, Mullen said he thinks the visit went well. He also said that the team hopes that the visit made a difference in each child's life.
"We try to be ambassadors for goodwill to kids and try to show them a positive image of the Navy and Marine Corps."
After an hour of visits, it was time for the Angels to get back to work for the Thunder of Niagara Air Show scheduled for the weekend.