PORTSMOUTH, Va. –
Naval Medical Center Portsmouth (NMCP) welcomed Operation PEACE (Peer Empowerment and Community Engagement), headed by Miss District of Columbia, Ensign Andolyn Medina, Nov. 17.
Medina, event founder, stopped by the NMCP Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and Hematology/Oncology Wards to gift children with Christmas presents before the holidays. This is the 15th annual Operation PEACE event.
Medina competed in junior beauty pageants and used her network of pageant competitors to start the NMCP holiday visit tradition to include many former Miss Virginias. She is a former Miss Virginia’s Outstanding Teen; in addition to currently holding the title of Miss District of Columbia 2021.
“For this year and every year moving forward, we want to dedicate Operation PEACE to Kaylyn Garrett,” Medina said. Garret, a former gift recipient, met Medina during the 2019 Operation PEACE visit. “She touched our hearts so much that we want to honor her legacy.”
Medina, whose parents are both retired naval officers, was a patient in the Pediatrics Department when she was 8-years-old and said she missed out on a lot of holiday traditions with her family. When Medina recovered, she spoke with her mom about how she could give back.
“I remember being hospitalized for an emergency on Easter Sunday while my dad was deployed,'' Medina said. “So, I know what it means to be hospitalized on a holiday and to feel like you are missing out.”
Medina will be competing in the Miss America 100th Anniversary Competition hosted at Mohegan Sun Resort in Connecticut, Dec. 12-16.
As the U.S. Navy's oldest, continuously-operating military hospital since 1830, Naval Medical Center Portsmouth proudly serves past and present military members and their families. The nationally-acclaimed, state-of-the-art medical center, along with the area's 10 branch health and TRICARE Prime Clinics, provide care for the Hampton Roads area. The medical center also supports premier research and teaching programs designed to prepare new doctors, nurses and hospital corpsman for future roles in healing and wellness.