MARINE CORPS AIR STATION YUMA, Ariz. -- The Branch Medical Clinic hosted its third annual luau in the clinic courtyard here April 13 for the clinic staff.
The luau is one of three annual holiday events held on the clinic’s training days during lunch hours to relieve stress and improve camaraderie, said Senior Chief Petty Officer, James Irvine, senior enlisted leader at the clinic.
The idea for the luau began when Cmdr. Dan Cornwell, Branch Medical Clinic officer-in-charge, was stationed in Hawaii.
It was a good family atmosphere where the troops were able to bond and relax, which is why it was brought here, said Cornwell.
The event featured the ugliest Hawaiian T-shirt, hula dancing, and hula-hoop contests, as well as several tables full of different foods, snacks and desserts, recognition of new staff and a presentation to a future sailor.
Samuel Jarvis, optometry student with the Navy’s Delayed Entry Program, was the recipient of the BMC’s externship program completion certificate. He said he will be going to the Naval Medical Clinic at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton to start his work.
“This day is really to show appreciation for everybody’s hard work,” said Cornwell. “The staff really loves it and it gets more creative each year. It is funny to see them dig up their old Hawaiian shirts and show up in them.”
“It is a lot of fun because we get to see so many people wearing those funny Hawaiian shirts,” said Christy Bueno, Branch Medical Clinic medical assistant. “We also get to meet plenty of people and catch up with friends, but the best part is the food.”
“There is so much food it’s hard to decide what to eat,” chuckled Seaman Apprentice Eddy Flores, clinic corpsman.
It is good for the staff to take a breather from the extremely busy and long days they experience here, said Cornwell.
The clinic and pharmacy handles anywhere from 400 to 500 patients a day and about 30,000 a year, he explained. Even when the troops are away from station, the clinic still has to take care of families and the retirees who live in the area.
However, the thing that really makes the staff so special is their willingness to go the extra step and their diligence in the work they do.
“They know they are the only show in town, and yet, they always perform above and beyond what is expected of them,” said Cornwell. “It is our primary goal to support the Marines and sailors and to ensure we always accomplish our mission.”
The clinic is always gaining new people and the more experienced workers leave to new assignments or deploy with 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, he added. The good thing is clinic personnel are always ready to meet the daily challenges.
As long as the Marines, sailors and civilian personnel who work with the Branch Medical Clinic continue to provide the best service possible, the clinic will continue to earn these relaxing activities, said Cornwell.
“I plan to continue having these events as long as I am (on station) because this is the best way to reward an outstanding group of hard-working individuals,” he added.