Tidelands Health salutes decorated WWII veteran, 99, during hospital stay
GEORGETOWN COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – A decorated WWII veteran received a special salute in his hospital room during a recent stay at Tidelands Waccamaw Community Hospital.
Clarence “Chuck” Tompkins shared his first-hand accounts of serving in the Battle of Bulge and on D-Day during a four-day stay at the hospital for the implementation of a pacemaker, according to a press release from Tidelands Health.
For Tompkins, 99, his battle wounds are badges of honor. He served in Darby’s Rangers of the U.S. Army 4th Infantry Division.
Officials say after being “slightly” wounded in France, he suffered severe injuries during the Battle of the Bulge after being shot four times by a machine gun.
Tompkins received nearly a dozen special decorations for his service, including two Purple Hearts, a Silver Star, two Bronze Stars and two medals from France, including the Medal of the Jubilee of Liberty.
“His story is amazing. We have to do something for him. I just felt compelled,” said Tidelands Health hospitalist physician Dr. Richard Cutchin. “We have very few of these veterans still with us. Each and every one of them deserve every bit of gratitude, honor and respect that we can bestow on them.”
Cutchin, senior leaders, and Tompkins’ care team had an informal bedside ceremony for the hospital’s most decorated veteran patient on Wednesday afternoon.
Tidelands Health family medicine physician Dr. Henry Lau, a retired colonel with the U.S. Air Force, swapped his white coat for his military full-dress uniform to present Tompkins with an encased American flag.
Dr. Gerald Harmon, vice president of medical affairs at Tidelands Health and also a decorated veteran, penned a special note and gifted a military challenge coin.
“Our team at Tidelands Health is honored to provide care in your time of need,” Harmon said. “All of us are grateful that you served America in such a time of need also.”
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