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...

BAMC nurses: “It’s us against COVID”

Article
8/6/2020
Group of nurses at a hospital

With safety on the line, mistakes aren’t an option when it comes to PPE.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Madigan collects CCP in fight against COVID-19

Article
8/6/2020
Four people in a hospital room wearing masks

Convalescent plasma has been used for nearly a century to transfer antibodies from a recovered person to help protect another from an infection.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Convalescent Plasma Collection Program

Force Health Protection Guidance (Supplement 12) -Department of Defense Guidance for Personnel Traveling During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic

Publication
8/6/2020

This memorandum supplements requirements in references (a), (b), and (c) with respect to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), and replaces reference (d). It provides pre- and post­travel guidance for purposes of force health protection (FHP) of Service members, DoD family members, DoD civilian employees, and DoD contractor personnel.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Indiana National Guard continues to train in the COVID-19 environment

Article
8/5/2020
Soldiers in the field, wearing masks and testing equipment

Training in a time of COVID-19

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Health Readiness

DHA to recognize COVID-19 front-line innovators and leaders

Article
8/5/2020
Hospital Corpsman administers a COVID-19 test to service member aboard the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex.

Who are the COVID-19 change makers?

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Patient Safety | Patient Safety Champion Recognition Program

MTFs plan and prepare to face any emergency or disaster

Article
8/4/2020
Hospital personnel surrounding a patient

Military hospitals make emergency plans and conduct practice drills long before a natural disaster strikes.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Emergency Preparedness and Response | Disaster Prep Toolkit

Air Force mental health team provides for deployed troops

Article
8/4/2020
U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Nathan Davis, conducts a weekly Disaster Mental Health battlefield circulation walk around Quarantine Town.

The Disaster Mental Health team helps combat the stressors of the novel coronavirus and improves the overall well-being of service members of Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar.

Recommended Content:

Mental Health Care | Mental Wellness | Coronavirus

MHS asks COVID-19 recovered to donate plasma for seriously ill

Article
8/4/2020
Woman wearing mask and PPE holding a bag of plasma

Plasma donations needed in the fight against COVID-19

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Convalescent Plasma Collection Program

DoD leadership updates Pentagon on COVID-19 testing capabilities

Article
8/3/2020
Image of Air Force Maj. Gen. (Dr.) Lee Payne speaking, with Pentagon sign behind him

How COVID-19 testing helps prevent spread of the virus

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Army Medicine leaders visit BACH’s COVID-19 frontlines

Article
8/3/2020
Soldier in mask speaking to other soldiers

The commander shared both successes and challenges in the face of a global pandemic.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Air Force medical technician drawn to caring for others

Article
7/31/2020
Woman in white chemical suit

"As a medic, my job is to test people for the virus to help make sure they’re safe."

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Military Health System experts discuss COVID-19 innovations

Article
7/30/2020
Four men wearing masks, holding COVID-19 Airway Management Isolation Chamber

How quick thinking and new approaches are saving lives in the pandemic fight.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

In this Together: Military Couple Recovers from COVID-19, Donates Convalescent Plasma

Article
7/30/2020
Couple wearing masks, holding bags of plasma

There is information that suggests CCP might help some patients recover from the disease.

Recommended Content:

Armed Services Blood Program | Coronavirus | Convalescent Plasma Collection Program

DoD COVID-19 Practice Management Guide Version 5

Technical Document
7/30/2020

This Practice Management Guide does not supersede DoD Policy. It is based upon the best information available at the time of publication. It is designed to provide information and assist decision making. It is not intended to define a standard of care and should not be construed as one. Neither should it be interpreted as prescribing an exclusive course of management. It was developed by experts in this field. Variations in practice will inevitably and appropriately occur when clinicians take into account the needs of individual patients, available resources, and limitations unique to an institution or type of practice. Every healthcare professional making use of this guideline is responsible for evaluating the appropriateness of applying it in the setting of any particular clinical situation. The Practice Management Guide is not intended to represent TRICARE policy. Further, inclusion of recommendations for specific testing and/or therapeutic interventions within this guide does not guarantee coverage of civilian sector care. Additional information on current TRICARE benefits may be found at www.tricare.mil or by contacting your regional TRICARE Managed Care Support Contractor.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

McCaffery offers HA perspective to COVID-19

Article
7/29/2020
Man in mask presents military coin to female soldier

How a whole-government effort aided in pandemic response

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 46 - 60 Page 4 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.