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Luis Minguela, Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune shuttle service motor vehicle operator, prepares to pick up patients at the hospital on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune July 19. Minguela retired from the Marine Corps after 21 years as a gunnery sergeant, working as a motor pool chief. He continues to serve other veterans by providing a vital service for NHCL by shuttling hospital goers to and from the parking lot. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Mark Watola /Released)

Photo by Cpl. Mark Watola

Continuing service to hospital; retired veterans provide vital transportation to patients

21 Jul 2016 | Cpl. Mark Watola Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune

Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune provides local service members, retirees and their families with medical care they need. But at the hospital there is one overlooked service provided to patients, visitors and hospital staff.

Retired sailors and Marines offer a shuttle to hospital goers and continue to serve their fellow veterans. Over the past five years, Luis Minguela and other shuttle drivers have shuttled more than 250,000 people from the parking lot to the hospital.

"There was a need for those who couldn’t get from one place to another or having a hard time," said Luis Minguela, NHCL shuttle service motor vehicle operator. "The hospital reaps when we serve these folks. There’s a lot of folks that use this transportation a lot."

After 21 years Minguela retired from the Marine Corps as a gunnery sergeant, working as a motor pool chief. Although he isn’t operating the larger workhorses of the Marine Corps, Minguela’s job is still a vital part of the mission of the naval hospital.

"We are the beginning throughout their process at the hospital," said Minguela. "We try to take them where they need to go or take them to the front desk and let them know they will be helped out. At the end of the day, we want to make sure they’re completely satisfied. From the time they got their ride to the time they got to the hospital and the time they were taken back to their car."

Not only do the shuttle drivers take patients to and from the parking lot, but they also sometimes go the extra mile to ensure patients have a positive visit at the hospital.

"We do sometimes go a little bit beyond," said Minguela. "Sometimes we get them a wheelchair and take them where they need to go and a couple of times we have to park a car for some folks because they couldn’t do it."

Minguela said his selfless service can be attributed to his devotion to God.

"We got to take care of each other," said Minguela. "Once I found I was to serve Him, and by serving Him I serve these folks here. We are to reflect his walk."

In addition to Minguela, there is another member to the shuttle service team who also retired from naval service. Michael Bostock retired as chief petty officer in the Navy after 21 years as an aviation mechanic and now serves the naval hospital as an automotive mechanic.

"The drivers really care for the patients," said Bostock. "They love their job and what they do. The hospital provides a good program to take care of its patients, and it’s focused on its goal to be the medical center of care of choice. Every little part of that plays into that mission."

Both the drivers and mechanics work as a team to ensure the shuttle service continues to keep the patients of the naval hospital top priority.

"We’re all focused on the same thing, taking care of the patients," said Bostock. "We communicate and do whatever it takes to support the hospital in any way we can."

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