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Kenner Army Health Clinic staff members pose with guest speaker Col. Wanda D. Jenkins, senior nurse executive, National Capital Region Medical Directorate, Bethesda, Md., before a cake-cutting celebrating the 117th anniversary of the Army Nurse Corps in the KAHC break room Friday. Kenner staff wore custom made T-shirts with this year’s theme displaying #inthefight. (Photo by Lesley Atkinson, KAHC Public Affairs Officer)

FORT LEE, Va. (Feb. 8, 2018) -- Staff members from Kenner Army Health Clinic recognized the 117th anniversary of the Army Nurse Corps with a celebration that included a guest speaker and cake-cutting in the facility breakroom Friday.

The theme of the anniversary observance, “Keeping You In the Fight Since 1901,” was promoted through custom-made T-shirts worn by the facility’s nursing staff, and it served as the talking point for remarks provided by Col. Wanda D. Jenkins, senior nurse executive, National Capital Region Medical Directorate, Bethesda, Md.

“Army nurses have thrived in more than 150 countries covering 75 percent of the world’s nations,” she observed. “United by a shared vision and guided by an international code of ethics set in place since 1953, nurses have been saving lives in the worst of times and the darkest of years; during countless emergencies, epidemics and humanitarian disasters; always there, in the fight.”

Jenkins asked those gathered to take a moment and remember all the hard work and effort it took to get to where they are as professional caregivers. “Now, smile and be proud of your accomplishments and achievements,” she offered.

“Store all of your victories, hurdles and any perceived defeats,” Jenkins continued. “Know that each experience along the road (will continue to surface) to make you better, stronger, smarter and ready for the challenges ahead. Even though you might not realize this, each encounter is a building block.”

The colonel talked about the role military nurses have played in building the reputation of their profession and credited civilians for being an equally integral part of the team when it comes to influencing readiness.

“I want to say to our civilian comrades in arms – in the fight, you have always been there with us, standing tall and holding the torch,” she said. “You will always be right there beside us. Please know your impact and what you do to influence readiness is critical to what we do in terms of meeting our mission.”

Continuing on the subject of readiness, Jenkins said, “The #inthefight message is about teaching and training our teams to ensure we all have the necessary skills on the battlefield. The requirement for maintaining qualified medical personnel who have skills and knowledge is relevant for military demands. It makes medical readiness unique from other military readiness activities.”

The remarks, along with the symbolic anniversary celebration cake cutting, gave the assembled Kenner nursing professionals an opportunity to reflect on their service. Maj. Brando Jobity, a nurse practitioner on the clinic team, shared his views on the significance of the corps and the celebration.

“This is a very historical day for me,” he observed. “It represents what the Army Nurse Corps offers, the accomplishments we have made, and how we contribute to the strength of the military every day.”