Back to Top Skip to main content

Defending the Homeland: RWBAHC Soldier Shows compassion, initiative in COVID-19 Screening

Two soldiers standing in front of a car, holding a coin Maj. Gen. Laura A Potter, Commanding General U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence and Fort Huachuca presents a coin to Raymond W. Bliss Army Health Center Soldier, Spc. Cynthia A. Herrera. Herrera received the coin in recognition of her self-motivation to learn sign language in order to ask the screening questions to a hearing impaired WBAHC team member. (Rachel M. Williams)

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Like every other medical treatment facility, Raymond W. Bliss Army Health Center at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., screens all its visitors for COVID-19. Every morning, Soldiers greet all arrivals, including employees, at the door with the most up-to-date screening questions before allowing anyone entrance into the clinic.

Spc. Cynthia A. Herrera, one of the screeners, made it a point to greet everyone with a smile, including RWBAHC team member, Stephen C. Derrick, who works in Patient Administration, and is hearing impaired. This made asking the screening questions difficult.

“Every morning we would greet and screen our team members, as instructed;” Herrera said, “however, we struggled to communicate with our hearing impaired team member. Each morning we would greet him with a smile and a wave, but couldn’t ask the screening questions appropriately. With the severity of everything going on, we couldn’t continue to let him go by without being properly screened.”

“Everyone tries to communicate the best they can, and it’s very nice that they make an effort. Oh, I would love to be able to talk more freely if more people knew how to sign,” said Derrick.

Herrera decided to do something about the problem.

“I became motivated to learn the screening questions to not only screen appropriately, but to ensure he felt like he was a part of the team,” Herrera explained. “I watched a lot of COVID-19 news casts in ASL [American Sign Language] that were uploaded on YouTube, which were way too fast for me to learn from. I then kept looking up ‘how to sign’ and kept watching videos on the ASL video dictionary. Once I knew how to sign the questions, I took some time practicing them. Shortly after, I realized I needed to know how to interpret his possible responses and what actions needed to be taken if he said ‘yes.’ Like with anything new, I was very nervous that I would sign something incorrectly that could possibly offend him. I just kept practicing for a couple of days until I felt comfortable communicating with him.”

She chose Friday, April 10, to try to sign the screening questions to Derrick. Derrick said he was very surprised by her greeting and questions in sign language that morning.

“Mr. Derrick smiled and repeatedly thanked me. It was later brought to my attention that he walked away with tears of joy,” Herrera said.

Capt. Gary “Chris” Piontek, Company Commander was glad to hear the about the compassion and initiative one of his Soldiers displayed.

“I learned that Spc. Herrera had taught herself the screening questions in sign language the morning of April 10. Her NCO, Sgt. 1st Class [James] Van Sickle, stopped me as I was walking down the hallway and informed me that another civilian team member witnessed it and came to tell him earlier. The first person I told afterward was my wife. I told her that I pretty much had a “proud dad” moment and that it made my heart happy,” Piontek said.

Piontek told the command team about the situation.

“They were all equally impressed, and it immediately brought smiles to their faces,” he said.

Lt. Col. Wendy Gray, RWBAHC Commander, shared this story with Maj. Gen Laura Potter, Commanding General, Fort Huachuca.

“I believe this type of behavior needs to be highlighted and awarded because it is truly what makes this organization great and makes a team and a family,” Gray explained.

Potter presented Herrera with a coin and her thanks. “When I heard about this story, it really warmed my heart,” Potter said.

Not the type to rest on her accolades, now that Herrera identified a need within her team, she decided to continue teach herself sign language and improve on her knowledge.

“Since learning to sign the screening questions, I have learned common phrases, like ‘how are you’ and ‘have a good day,’ so that I would be able to use [them] in passing our team member.”

“It [learning ASL] showed initiative and made a lasting impact," Piontek explained. "One can become complacent very easily when manning the screening table day-in and day-out. It was refreshing to see that she chose to spend her “down-time” in a productive manner that would improve the quality of life for other people,” he continued. “Her initiative, selflessness, and compassion has shown that she has the potential to be a great leader in the future.”

Disclaimer: Re-published content may be edited for length and clarity.  Read original post.

You also may be interested in...

Army SHARP/SAPR’s awareness creates a safe culture at JBLE

Article
9/25/2020
Image of teal ribbon against soldier's uniform

Remaining on guard against sexual harassment/assault despite pandemic.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Sexual Assault Prevention

USU Task Force addresses nutrition and lifestyle’s role in resiliency

Article
9/24/2020
Woman cutting a steak on a plate, with corn

A personal protective lifestyle (PPL) and nutrition (PPN) could be your key to resiliency in the face of COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

Nutrition | Coronavirus

PSNS Hospitalman consistently steps up to meet the mission

Article
9/23/2020
Man wearing a mask in an office environment

The ‘Rad Health’ program is cited as the ‘gold standard’ by Naval Sea Systems Command and BUMED audits.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Georgia soldiers donate CCP in the fight against COVID-19

Article
9/22/2020
Man wearing mask, giving blood

[C]onvalescent plasma transferred to a patient still suffering from the disease could help speed the recovery process.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Convalescent Plasma Collection Program

Air Force master ordering facility streamlines medical supply process

Article
9/21/2020
Military member in warehouse, packing a large box

To date, the Air Force master ordering facility in Port San Antonio has supported 26 Urban Augmentation Medical Task Forces embedded in 24 civilian hospitals.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Trump Administration Releases COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Strategy

Article
9/17/2020
Soldier getting flu shot

Detailed planning is ongoing to ensure rapid distribution as soon as the FDA authorizes or approves a COVID-19 vaccine and CDC makes recommendations for who should receive initial doses.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

MHS immunization experts will answer questions about flu vaccine

Article
9/16/2020
Soldier giving another soldier a flu shot

Real-time Facebook event set for 3-4 p.m. EDT Sept. 17

Recommended Content:

Immunizations | Preventive Health | Public Health | Coronavirus

Former BAMC COVID-19 patient now CCP donor

Article
9/16/2020
Man donating blood

When someone contracts a virus, that person’s immune system creates antibodies to fight the virus.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Convalescent Plasma Collection Program

New communications tool rolled out on MHS GENESIS

Article
9/15/2020
Three men, wearing masks, looking at a computer screen.

Through e-Visits, providers address questions, concerns virtually.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | MHS GENESIS

Suicide impacts us all – but there is help!

Article
9/14/2020
Man at sporting event kissing his wife and baby

September marks Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention | Coronavirus | September Toolkit

Wildfire smoke wreaks havoc on respiratory and immune systems

Article
9/11/2020
Picture of a military tent; an orange, smoky hue surrounds the tent and soldiers

State and country health advisory alerts on diminished air quality have been posted and shared to alert local populations.

Recommended Content:

Public Health | Coronavirus

From Ghana to Washington, Sailor provides leadership during COVID-19

Article
9/10/2020
Female soldier with mask

Acquiring supplies, in general, has been a hurdle worldwide.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Health Readiness

Thirteen years ago Ft. Knox prepared for outbreak scenarios

Article
9/10/2020
Front page of newspaper

Some of the preventive measures that surfaced from the 2007 exercise included the wearing of facial coverings, regular sanitizing of surfaces and social distancing by such means as teleworking.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Public Health

JHIEs give providers better access to patient information

Article
9/8/2020
Man looking at X-Ray

The joint HIE securely connects DoD, VA, U.S. Coast Guard and hundreds of other select federal and private sector partners with patient health and benefit information data.

Recommended Content:

Federal Electronic Health Record Modernization (FEHRM) Program Office | Electronic Health Record Modernization & Interoperability | MHS GENESIS | Joint Health Information Exchange | Coronavirus

USU & JTS lead global COVID-19 Grand Rounds

Article
9/4/2020
Woman in hospital bed surrounded by military health personnel.

A Military Health System-wide virtual clinical case conference led by the Uniformed Services University (USU) and hosted by the Joint Trauma System (JTS) offers physicans best practices and lessons learned during the pandemic.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 18

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.