By Nolan P. Smith
High Desert Daily
(Fort Irwin) This March, Massage Therapy students from Four-D College in Victorville paid a special visit to Fort Irwin. The trip was a way to give back and show appreciation to those who have given so much for our country. A return trip is already being planned for May.
The opportunity came due to the collaborative efforts of Fort Irwin’s Weed Army Community Hospital’s (WACH) Chief of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Clinic Major Shirley Daniel, Captain Georgena Wiley, Four-D College’s Director of Massage Therapy Dale Sloan and Massage Therapy Instructor Amanda Packer. It started with one massage, which turned into so much more. “The initial opportunity for this experience was because of Four-D Vocational Instructor and Army retiree Captain Georgena Wiley, who came to the lab for a massage,” said Amanda Packer, Massage Therapy Instructor at Four-D College. “Kayla Harrell, a massage student, performed the massage on CPT Wiley and she expressed how this would be a great idea to perform on soldiers during the TBI Awareness Campaign.” The vocational college students and staff travelled to Fort Irwin to participate in Fort Irwin’s TBI Awareness Campaign in March, which was Brain Injury Awareness Month. Seven students and several staff members from Four-D visited the base in late March as they provided tension and stress relief chair massages to the to the patients and staff at the hospital.
“The massages not only gave the students a sense of respect and honor to perform massages on soldiers and families who selflessly serve our country, but to the community as well,” said Packer in regards to the experience this trip was for her students. “Performing massages to staff enhances morale. The blessing was two-fold, we gave a small token of appreciation to our soldiers and families, as well as we were able to allow the Fort Irwin community to visualize and receive firsthand the quality of work from students attending a school owned and founded by Linda Smith (Founder of Four-D College).”
MAJ Daniel commented on the experience, as she was there firsthand, “the positive response from those who received massages from the students was extremely overwhelming. We could have not imagined the response of our community. I actually became a little emotional viewing the smiles and the camaraderie the soldiers and students were exhibiting. It was a great feeling seeing how happy this service made the soldiers, staff, and patients. Today was a great day. Thank you Four-D College Students. Continue to thrive and do great things.”
Over 200 soldiers and staff members at WACH received massages as students massaged in ten-minute intervals. “This opportunity was our way of saying thank you to all those whom serve our country: soldiers, families, and the staff at Fort Irwin,” said Jared Schwebs, Massage Therapy student at Four-D College.
Kayla Harrell, also a student at Four-D, echoed the sentiment of her classmate, “I believe our presence in the army community showed a great concern for all of those around us by helping one another, we can inspire one another to move forward.”
For more information on Four-D College and the programs they offer, feel free to visit them online at www.4dcollege.edu or give a call to the Victorville campus at (760) 962-1325.