NORFOLK, Va. - Before the Community Vaccination Center at Military Circle Mall is filled with chatter from people waiting to get their vaccine, there's a much different sound echoing through the room.
"Each morning at the start of the day, we have all of our Sailors stand up and recite the Sailor's Creed," said Cmdr. Greg Leveque, MSRON 4 executive officer and officer in charge of the military support to the vaccination center.
Every morning a new Sailor is chosen to lead the group. Petty Officer 3rd Class Juliana Pawson, a hospital corpsman stationed at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, shared her experience leading the creed. She said, "I try to do it super loud, I take deep breaths between everything and just try to scream it as loud as I can."
It may be a small part of the day before countless vaccines are given, but it's an important one.
Cdr. Leveque said, "It's an opportunity for us to remind everyone of why we're doing this, our commitment to our country, our commitment to our service. It was something I wanted to implement here to essentially give ourselves a sense of pride and professionalism."
After the creed is finished, Cdr. Leveque said the Sailor will share a few facts about themselves. This opens the floor up for conversations and people are given the opportunity to get to know one another better.
"If someone says 'Oh, this is my favorite football team,' or 'Oh, I really like this kind of food,' you see them go sit back down and people kind of reach out," PO3 Pawson said. "[Overall this routine reminds me that] I am here for a mission, I'm going to complete that mission to the best of my ability and then we go and we do it."
"We are used to serving abroad and this is a good opportunity for us to actually serve in our own hometown," Cdr. Leveque said.
PO3 Pawson said, "We get to see the fruits of our labor right there, directly, which you don't always get to see depending on where you are in medicine. You treat the patient there and you never get to see the results. With this, you do get to see that, and that really motivates me every day to get families back together, get people to school, back to work, stuff like that."
After new CDC guidance, kids as young as 12 can now get their vaccine, but they must have a parent or guardian present. Families can stop by Military Circle Mall every day from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. to receive a vaccine.