A Gary-based Army Reserve unit that provided medical care for soldiers throughout the world took time Monday to honor the local hospital where it received its training.
The 395th Combat Hospital Unit presented Methodist Hospitals Northlake Campus in Gary with a plaque celebrating a partnership that began in 1976 until the unit's deactivation a decade later.
Among the former unit members present for the recognition and reunion was Judy Stryczek, the nurse who spearheaded the partnership.
Stryczek was commissioned as a major when she joined the Army Nurse Corps in 1976. Already a house supervisor at Methodist, Stryczek approached the hospital administration about allowing the 395th to train there. Her chief concern after joining the unit was how to provide medical training for members who would have to treat patients in a combat zone.
"I'm very glad I was able to do it," Stryczek said. "It was wonderful that I was working as house supervisor because it made it easier to bridge with the military combat support hospital. This helped our members prepare the unit to be successful and capable of being assigned to a field unit in a combat support setting."
Retired Sgt. Charles Alexander Sr., who worked in the motor pool of the 395th, said it was always a goal of his to publicly praise Methodist for training the unit.
"It's for what they've given to people in the community and combat hospitals around the world," he said.
Methodist CEO Ian McFadden accepted the plaque from the 395th and said he's "amazed everyday how many lives this hospital has touched."