U.S.

June 13, 2013

Airman gets unusual gift along with dental cleaning

Tags:
Sarah Marshall
Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Public Affairs
Gift_pict
2nd Lt. Jennifer Szatkowski holds up a decorative brown bag she made for service members more than a decade ago while in grade school. Szatkowski, a second year medical student with the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, saw the bag on a bulletin board where she was having her teeth cleaned.

BETHESDA, Md. (Army News Service) — When Air Force 2nd Lt. Jennifer Szatkowski came to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for a dental exam, she discovered an unusual coincidence that made her visit not-so-routine.

While having her teeth cleaned May 3, she noticed two brown paper bags hanging on a bulletin board in the exam room. Each bag was decorated with patriotic artwork. One of those, she was certain, had been made by her, more than a decade ago, when she was in grade school.

“When I first saw the bag, I thought my mind was playing tricks on me,” Szatkowski said. “I couldn’t believe something I had made so long ago, was hanging on the wall across from me in a dentist office at Walter Reed.”

The second year medical student at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences recalled drawing an American flag on the paper bag as part of a project about 12 years ago at her elementary school in Wisconsin, more than 700 miles away. On the bag, she spelled out what she thought “Soldiers” stood for: strong, outstanding, loyal, dedication, intelligent, enthusiasm, respected and strength.

The candy-filled bags made their way to the former National Naval Medical Center, where they were handed out by Red Cross volunteers. Carmen Torres, a registered dental hygienist in the Primary Care Dentistry Department, took three bags: one for her father, an Air Force veteran, and two for decoration. They’ve remained on display in the clinic since she first posted them on the bulletin board, about five years ago.

After Szatkowski’s exam, she told Torres, “you’re not going to believe what I’m going to tell you.”

At first, the dental hygienist thought maybe Szatkowski was suddenly feeling ill, or had concerns about the screening, but when the USU student began explaining that she created the bag, Torres said she was amazed.

“It gave me the chills,” Torres said.

Szatkowski remembers drawing the number “50” inside a star, next to the flag, to show she knew 50 stars were supposed to be on the flag, but she couldn’t fit them all. To be certain the bag was hers, she asked Torres if she could take the bag down for a closer look. Szatkowski said they would find “Jenny,” lightly written in pencil in the bottom right corner. The inscription was there.

“It was unbelievable that it was still around, and that it had traveled so far, from Butler, Wis.,” said Szatkowski.

Szatkowski is currently fulfilling her dreams of becoming a doctor. She was moved by the experience, reflecting on what her younger self thought of service members.

“The coincidence is unreal,” Szatkowski said.

She said that she would not take the bag home with her.

“I would rather have it serve its original purpose of letting America’s Soldiers know that they are loved and appreciated,” she said.

Word of Szatkowski’s discovery quickly spread through Primary Care Dentistry. Department head Dr. Kim Rumanes told her he appreciated the “heartfelt sentiment that went into creating [the bag] in the first place.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
(U.S. Air Force illustration/Senior Airman Micaiah Anthony)

AF begins testing phase for women in combat roles

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — In April 2015, the Air Force will begin conducting the physical evaluations required to explore opening the last six career fields currently closed to women. When the law prohibiting women in ground co...
 
 
DoD

New tuition assistance tool attuned to troops’ educational needs

WASHINGTON – The Defense Department continues to invest in its service members and has introduced a new online informational tool tailored to their unique school programs and educational needs, the Defense Department’s chief of voluntary education said in a DoD news interview this week. Dawn Bilodeau discussed a new online tool called “Tuition Assistance DECIDE.”...
 
 

D-M Airmen freefall into the blue

BUCKEYE, Ariz. — You’re standing in an open door of an aircraft soaring 12,000 feet above the ground. You have put your full trust into the person strapped to your back, who you’ve known for less than two hours, to bring you back down to Earth safe and sound. The count begins. “Out…in…out.” The floor of the...
 

 

Enlisted members selected for promotion to get EPR on “select” grade closeout date

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas (AFNS) — In line with a recent update to the Air Force policy on enlisted performance report static closeout dates (SCOD), effective immediately, all future EPRs for promotion-selectees will close out on the date of the promotion-select grade. At the direction of Headquarters Air Force, Airmen promoted to technical sergeant...
 
 
(U.S. Air National Guard photo by 2nd Lt. Lacey Roberts)

First Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program event a success

The 162nd Wing’s Air Wing Integrator hosted her first Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program event on April 10 at the Hilton Garden Inn Tucson International Airport. Christina Desiato began working here last September with a pur...
 
 

Make time to mentor your Airmen

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, AZ — The Air Force is comprised of Airmen with many skills and talents. The backbone to our continued success is our men and women who strive to be excellent on a daily basis. However, there are times when our focus is derailed by our own personal and professional guidelines. I was taught...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin