Hospital reaches out to National Guardsmen - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Hospital reaches out to National Guardsmen

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Americus-- Months of intense training at Fort Stewart is over for hundreds of South Georgia guardsmen. Now,they are preparing to pack up and head overseas. While they're home saying last minute goodbyes to their families, some Sumter County soldiers are also saying goodbye to some new friends.

They may be gone, but they won't be forgotten. That's the message employees at Sumter Regional Medical Center want to give soldiers as they complete their missions in the Middle East.

Specialist First Class Victor Anderson has a new extended family. "I got adopted today. They had two other soldiers that were adopted before me and they got injuries and weren't allowed to go so I'm adopted," he says.

Staff members in Sumter Regional Medical Center's operating room will write, email and send him care packages while he and the rest of his platoon are fighting in Iraq. "Anytime your away from home whether its in the United States or Europe or in a war zone, if you get some mail it always helps," he says.

"It's something that will ease you as you're over there. It's not much but it's just the fact that somebody's writing you and showing you they care," says Sgt. Michael Cobb.

Staff in the 2nd Medical Department had a chance to meet a new addition to their extended family. Sgt. Michael Cobb and his wife Honnette introduced them to their two-month- old son Michael, Jr.

With four children to care for at home, Honnette says she's glad to have some help supporting husband. "It's feel good to have people caring for my husband and knowing that they're there for him. When he can't talk to me he may be able to talk to them," says Honnette.

Several departments at the hospital adopted local National Guardsmen that had been called to active duty. They've been writing, e-mailing and preparing care packages. "They've seen the names and many of them may not have had the chance to meet these soldiers yet," says Sumter Regional President and CEO David Seagraves.

Members of the 48th will deploy on Monday, so before they left they stopped by the hospital to meet those people who've shown so much support, ask for their prayers, give them their thanks. "Makes the soldiers feel pretty good. We're getting ready to go on a tough mission and it helps to have people support you back home. Letter and care packages make you feel better about what you're doing," says Sgt. Edward Jackson.

In addition to sending letters and packages to lift the soldiers spirits, the staff at Sumter Regional has promised to check in on the soldiers families while they're away.

The Sumter County soldiers are part of a mechanized infantry. They'll spent a few weeks training in Kuwait before heading to Iraq. They're expect to be deployed for a year.