Resident Spotlight: COL Frank Parker (Ret)

ARC Resident Turns His Hobby In To Smiles

On any given day you walk in to the hobby shop at the Army Residence Community (ARC), you’re very likely to find resident Frank Parker working hard at building some very special boxes for some very special people. Frank volunteers his time and talent in woodworking to building boxes for the Beads of Courage Program (BOC) and the Pediatric Oncology Ward at BAMC.

As a member of the Alamo Woodturners Association (AWA), the organization that coordinates providing the boxes, Frank builds what will hold the “beads of courage” earned by children at BAMC suffering from serious illnesses such as Cancer, blood disorders, cardiac conditions, burn injuries and chronic illness.

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The Beads of Courage Program is a resilience-based intervention designed to support and strengthen children and families coping with serious illness. Through the program, children tell their story using colorful beads as meaningful symbols of courage that commemorate milestones they have achieved along their unique treatment path. Upon enrollment, each child is given a Beads of Courage color guide. Each colored bead represents a different treatment milestone and the beads are given to the child by their professional health care provider to add to their BOC collection. There are some 30 major treatments with hundreds of sub-treatments for the children to receive beads. The boxes that Frank builds are used to collect each child’s beads.

The Pediatric Oncology Ward at BAMC has a population of 30-40 children in the program at any one time. To date, Frank and the AWA have provided 41 boxes to BAMC. As the point of contact for the AWA, Frank has the pleasure of delivering the boxes that he and other members have made.

“It is both humbling and painful to see the little children with such bad diseases, but very gratifying to see them with big smiles when they receive a box to put their beads in,” said Frank. “Making the boxes is one of my great pleasures in working in the Hobby Shop.”

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