On a February morning, Vietnam veteran Lee Pascasio sat in his brother-in-law’s room on 2 East at ECU Health Medical Center. As Melissa Warren, a nurse on the unit, checked on Willis Johnston Stancill she noticed his blood pressure was spiking, and the team sprung into action.
Pascasio said he watched in silence as the team went to work saving Stancill’s life. He said he’d seen that kind of teamwork before in his time as a Marine. The experience moved Pascasio to gift his Navy Commendation Medal, earned during his service in Vietnam, to Melissa Warren and the rest of the 2 East team. Now, it hangs in the hall of the unit on top of the stars of the American Flag for all to see.
“This is such a great team,” Warren said. “It’s such a well-oiled machine, it’s like we’re dancing almost when something crazy like that happens. It’s not like you have to ask somebody to do something. We just kind of do it, that’s the team. If something happens, the troops are coming in.”
A Medal Earned
Pascasio recalled his time in Vietnam vividly. During his second tour in Vietnam, Pascasio said at 25 years old he was an old man compared to the rest of the First Battalion, Ninth Marine Unit, where he served as sergeant, specializing in explosives.
On June 30, 1969, Pascasio said he was at Vandegrift Combat Base with the Ninth Marine Unit and another platoon in Vietnam. That day, rockets and mortars began to hit the battalion without warning. A lieutenant was killed in the attack, leaving Pascasio in charge. Pascasio sent a sergeant to get a corpsman while he administered first aid to the wounded. When the medevac eventually arrived, Pascasio helped load the dead and wounded Marines so they could receive further care.
Two years later, Pascasio was presented with the Navy Commendation Medal at Camp Lejeune.
Appreciating a Care Team
In the days following his brother-in-law’s incident on 2 East, Pascasio shared his appreciation in the form of tacos, donuts, coffee, cheesecake, Cracker Jacks and other snacks.
“He’s just so appreciative,” Warren said. “I can’t give like a superhero story or anything about that night. It was what we do. It’s nice to have him, or anybody, recognize what we do. It’s a demanding job with your emotions, high energy, physically, everything. So it is nice for somebody to care that much when we’re just doing our job.”
For Pascasio, the treats weren’t enough to show his appreciation.
“I said, ‘You know what? I want to do something nice for these people.’ They just saved my brother’s life. He got the best care in the world right here at 2 East,” Pascasio said. “I thought about Melissa and her team of crackerjacks on 2 East and I said, ‘This medal isn’t going to buy her a cup of coffee, but it’s straight from the heart.’”
“It was about their teamwork to save a life and the concern that we should all have. The nurses and teachers who have been through COVID are overlooked.”
Stancill passed away in May, but Pascasio said he still lives in his heart and in the heart of his wife, Emily Pascasio. He continues to be grateful for the care Stancill received, which Warren and her colleagues continue to find meaningful.
“This is for the whole unit,” Warren said. “I mean, you see the support of all the staff out there. They’re amazing. We are like family. When I come to work, when I walk in, we’re hugging each other. None of us could do this alone.”
Source : Ecuhealth