Naval Hospital Bremerton Volunteers brings Energic Support to Washington State Special Olympics Basketball Tournament

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Story Number: NNS140203-08Release Date: 2/3/2014 1:57:00 PM

By Douglas H. Stutz, Naval Hospital Bremerton Public Affairs

BREMERTON, Wash. (NNS) -- There were 106 teams, 93 games, five venues and 12 courts of play, along with approximately 50 volunteers from Naval Hospital Bremerton (NHB) helping at the annual Washington State Special Olympics Southwest Regional Basketball tournament held Feb. 1.

NHB staff members helped with score-keeping, clock operators, medal presentation, book-keeping, as well as sharing a collective show of spirit and support that delighted athletes and tournament officials alike.

"We have always had volunteer help from Naval Hospital before, but we've never had so many with so much energy. The support is very much appreciated. We can't say enough of how much it means to the teams and to the organizers. This is truly amazing," said Chris Funke of the Kiwanis Club of Bremerton and past president of the organization.

From the Kitsap Fairgrounds SUN Pavilion to Olympic High School, Fairview Junior High, Central Kitsap Junior High and Woodland Elementary, NHB volunteers fanned out to handle needed duties.

"I personally volunteered to get out and do things and help out our community. I also helped out with the Bowling Tournament back in the fall and it was a lot of fun. The athletes really like having us there for them," said Hospitalman Benjamin Stewart, NHB orthopedics technician from Oklahoma who coordinated bringing the hospital corpsmen from Orthopedics Department to the event.

Perhaps nowhere were NHB volunteers more evident than in the Olympic HS venue, with two full court games being played simultaneously. One contest was supported by Orthopedic staff and the other by almost 20 corpsmen from Nursing Services Directorate.

"This was my first time doing this and this is awesome. Giving back to our community in this setting is really something. It's not only a lot of fun, but it's easy to see that these teams really like the support we're bringing," shared Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Randall Tacbi, a Modesto, Calif. native.

NHB volunteers cheered, clapped, and stomped the floor in encouragement. High fives were exchanged. Smiles were shared. The lively applause was infectious for not just the athletes but also for the volunteers.

"Did you see that player who just came over and shook each volunteer's hand at the scoring table? Did you see that high-five that (Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class) Demetrius Walker was doing with that athlete? That's what being a volunteer in a setting like this is all about. Helping support others by giving of ourselves. I grew up in a family that always gave back to the community so when the opportunity came up to support this event I knew I had to take part. I also knew I had to bring as many of our corpsmen from Multi-Service Ward and Intensive Care Unit (ICU) as possible to share the experience," explained Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Jordan Mullan, ICU leading petty officer and Oregon native.

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