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 photo/ Master Sgt. Jeffrey Allen)

Relationship building by means of the F-16

  America’s stars and stripes and Arizona’s lone copper star always wave proudly at the Arizona Air National Guard’s 162nd Wing. But it’s the adjacent flags of coalition-partners – from the pacific island-nat...
 
 

Overcoming all odds, Airmen defeats toughest adversary yet

  CREECH AIR FORCE BASE, Nevada  — He awoke on a frigid Washington D.C. morning completely blind and was rushed through the cold snow laden streets in a furious sprint to the hospital. A few hours later Ryan Keeney received the worst news of his life. He had been diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia, a deadly form...
 
 

AF continues to work with DOD, OPM on cybersecurity incident

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — The Air Force maintains its commitment to protect personal information from cyber threats by continuing efforts with the Defense Department and the Office of Personnel Management to assist those impacted by the recent cyber incident involving federal background investigation data. OPM and an interagency response team, including investigators from the FBI and...
 

 
(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sergio A. Gamboa)

Making a Splash: NCO Goes Deep to Re-Enlist

  TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. — A Tyndall Airman re-enlisted in a unique way recently, diving approximately 70 feet under water to swear in for another three and a half years of service. Technical Sgt. Robert Barn...
 
 

One AWACS lands at D-M for Boneyard Storage

One NATO E-3A AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) departed NATO Air Base Geilenkirchen, Germany and landed around 1 p.m. June 23, for storage in the ‘Boneyard’. This is the first ever NATO AWACS to be retired. The decision to retire one E-3A was made by the North Atlantic Council in an effort to modernize the...
 
 
(Courtesy photo)

Monsoon season blows in storms, rain, dust

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, ARIZONA — Arizona is known for being sunny with clear skies for the majority of the year, but every year “it” happens. As the clouds roll in, the sky darkens with thunderbolts streaming overhead...
 




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=""> <s> <strike> <strong>