Volunteers receive credit for job well done

By Paul Bello, National Museum of Health and Medicine

SILVER SPRING, Md. - Docents from the National Museum of Health and Medicine (NMHM) volunteer their time because of a sincere interest in sharing knowledge with others. That generosity was saluted recently during a ceremony hosted by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC) at Fort Detrick, Maryland.

Delores Christie, a volunteer docent since 2007, was awarded the Fort Detrick Organizational Volunteer of the Year Award for her work at NMHM. The award is given to one volunteer who makes a substantial contribution to the mission of an Army activity, organization or welfare of the Army family.

Christie, who worked for the Department of Health and Human Services for 40 years, enjoys giving tours and answering questions related to science and medicine, especially NMHM's vast Civil War collection.

"I feel deeply honored to be recognized in appreciation of my service to soldiers, families, and retirees by Fort Detrick and NMHM," Christie said. "I truly love every aspect of my role as a docent. I get real excited when, after a tour, visitors are more knowledgeable about military medicine, especially Civil War medicine."

The praise didn't stop there, as Christie also received the Bronze Level Presidential Service Award for volunteering more than 100 hours in 2014. This award includes a signed letter from President Barack Obama, an award certificate and presidential service pin, according to Gwen Nelmes, NMHM tour program coordinator.

Regina Hunt, a member of NMHM's docent corps for 25 years, was also recognized for her more than two decades of service at the museum. A self-proclaimed "proud product of West Virginia and devotee to the B&O Railroad," she also serves as a licensed tour guide in Washington, D.C., and once worked in public affairs at the Naval Medical Research Center, now located on the Fort Detrick-Forest Glen Annex in Silver Spring, Maryland. Like her fellow docents, Hunt has fun giving tours, particularly to school children who visit.

"I try to make connections to present day science and explain how the museum was started," Hunt said. "I began my career in the world of medicine and that's how I discovered NMHM. I found myself wanting to learn more and eventually became a volunteer. It's been just great. I've enjoyed myself so much."

According to Nelmes, it's important to recognize the outstanding service the volunteers provide to the community and the museum. Volunteers provide a unique experience for those interested in understanding the importance of military medicine. Because of volunteers like Christie and Hunt, NMHM was awarded the Gold Presidential Service Award for having contributed more than 500 hours as a group in the past year, she said.

Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer docent at NMHM must be at least 21 years of age and open to a flexible schedule that includes weekday and weekend opportunities. For more information, call 301-319-3312. Information about NMHM can be found online at www.medicalmuseum.mil.


Caption: Delores Christie, volunteer docent at the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Silver Spring, Md., offers a tour, in April 2015.

(Disclosure: This image has been cropped to emphasize the subject.) (National Museum of Health and Medicine photo by Matthew Breitbart / Released)
Caption: Regina Hunt (right), volunteer docent at the National Museum of Health and Medicine (NMHM), was recently honored for her 25 years of service to NMHM. The recognition was presented by Gwen Nelmes, NMHM tour program coordinator (left).

(Disclosure: This image has been cropped to emphasize the subject.) (National Museum of Health and Medicine photo by Matthew Breitbart / Released)
Caption: NMHM docents and staff are seen posing with acting Commander of U.S. Army Garrison Fort Detrick Col. Perry Clark during the Fort Detrick Volunteer Awards Ceremony held April 20 at the Fort Detrick Community Activities Center.

(Photo courtesy Nick Minecci, USAG Public Affairs)