Navy surgeons help with paint and brushes

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – Navy surgeons usually fix problems with prescriptions and scalpels. Saturday, they fixed a problem with scrapers, sprayers, and paintbrushes.

“The City sent me a notice and said ‘we’re doing the neighborhood enhancement,’ and I should do some scraping and painting outside,” said Tommy Sturgis, who has lived at his home on Caroline Avenue in Portsmouth for 50 years. “Those years, I had to do it myself, which was okay, I was young,” he said. “But now, I don’t get up the stairs and steps.”

That ruled out scraping and painting. Sturgis asked neighbors to help him find volunteers. The neighbors asked friends online, and Sturgis’ request made its way to Austin Yoder, an intern at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth.

“It was very easy. I didn’t work very hard to get people out here,” said Yoder. “I sent an email saying this guy needs help, and please come and join me if you’d like to help, and had at least 20 replies the first couple hours.”

About a dozen interns showed up to help, and an attending physician bought $300 of tape, paint, and other supplies.

“I feel a foot taller, I feel ten pounds lighter, and warm in the heart,” said Sturgis.

Medical interns are known to put in far more than 40 hours a week, but this group said they’re happy to do even more.

“It’s a pleasure to help the community and make a difference outside of work,” said Yoder.

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