MidState nurse goes above and beyond for veterans

You can trust that Bob Samartino, RN, Pavilion D, will continue giving back to his military brothers and sisters the best way he knows how.

Samartino is a veteran of the Army National Guard and comes from a long line of military members, including his grandfather, father, and now his son. He created his own patient experience project by giving American flags to patients who are military veterans. Samartino’s wife, Maria, RN, Pavilion E, has also joined the project.

“Last year, my wife was assisting a patient who was going through a tough time,” said Samartino. “She told me about him and asked if I could give her one of the flags that I keep in my locker. We brought it down to him and while he was sleeping we planted it in his room with a note that read ‘thank you for your service.’ I was told that when he woke up and saw the note and flag, he had tears in his eyes and insisted on thanking whoever left it.”

It’s moments like these that have inspired Samartino to go above and beyond for patients who are military veterans.

He also realizes that he is very lucky to be where he is today, and he wants to help out those who weren’t as fortunate.

“I was very lucky while serving in the military,” said Samartino. “There wasn’t a big war or conflict while I was serving so I am constantly wondering how different my life would be had I been born a few years earlier or later. Right now, I am precepting a nurse who I found out is also a veteran. It kind of shocked me a little when I found out she was actually shot at while serving overseas. It makes you feel really grateful and fortunate to be where you are today, but I also want to do my part in thanking and honoring everyone that have served.”

Samartino said that he would like to see all the floors and pavilions at HOCC and MidState eventually be able to hand out American flags to all patients who are veterans.

“Seeing the reactions of the patients’ faces when they see the flag – it’s like seeing a child’s face on Christmas morning,” said Samartino.