FORT HOOD, Texas – Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center (CRDAMC) soon will be back to creating warm memories for its new moms with the relaunching of the hospital’s layette program

The popular program, in conjunction with participating Fort Hood Family Readiness Groups (FRG), is expected to begin in April, according to Lt. Col. Alicia Surrey, maternal child chief nurse. The previous program, which provided layette storage space for FRG units, was put on hold in 2015 when the hospital began transitioning to the new medical center. In addition to providing storage space, CRDAMC’s Mother Baby Unit will be notifying brigade-level units of their new arrivals.

“CRDAMC is excited to present this special opportunity for unit leaders to celebrate the newest members of their teams,” said Surrey, adding that the small gesture represents a symbolic tribute to the Army parent’s military service. “This treasured keepsake honors the Army community where they were born.”

Jae Rin Park, an FRG advisor for the 3rd Cavalry Regiment’s, Thunder Squadron, agreed.

“It’s really important to give our 3rd Squadron moms something special to remind them of their time in the regiment,” said Park, noting that the regiment’s FRG was continually asked by moms about the suspended program. “They were really missing it.”

Park, who was on hand to present the regiment’s signature blanket adorned with its gold trumpet and green scroll Brave Rifles crest  to new mom,  Christinia Velez, said having a storage space at CRDAMC also will make it easier to for FRGs across Fort Hood to reach out to the new moms.

“I love it,” said Christinia, praising the unit’s FRG for all the “amazing” things they’ve done for her and her husband, Spc. Anthony Velez. “We don’t have family nearby, so the FRG has become my family. This is just so special.”

The memorable moment also turned into a teaching opportunity for CRDAMC labor and delivery nurse, Capt. Jessica Fitzgerald, who used the canary yellow blanket to swaddle baby Isabella Marie.

“Wow, it’s so soft,” said Specialist Velez while he assisted Fitzgerald swaddle his daughter, who was born just before dawn on Jan. 23.”This is so special. Regardless of where we are in the world or whether I get out of the military or stay in, this will always show her where she came from and remind her of her extended family.”

CRDAMC welcomes unit participation, however, the unit will be responsible funding and purchasing the layette items.

“This is a tangible way of showing our moms and babies how special they are,” said Park, adding that the squadron always is planning activities to raise fund for the revived program. “We want to support them and show them how much they are a welcome addition to the regiment’s family.”

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Spc. Anthony and Christinia Velez are all smiles following 3rd Cavalry Regiments Family Readiness Group’s layette donation welcoming their daughter, Isabella Marie, to the regiment’s Thunder Squadron. Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center, together with unit FGRs, is relaunching its popular layette program next month. (Photo by Gloria Montgomery, CRDAMC Public Affairs)



Capt. Jessica Fitzgerald, chief nurse for Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center’s Mother baby Unit, shows 3rd Cavalry Regiment soldier, Spc. Anthony Velez and his wife, Christinia, how to swaddle their new daughter, Isabella Marie, using the unit’s Family Readiness Group’s signature blanket. CRDAMC, together with unit FGRs, is relaunching its popular layette program next month. (Photo by Gloria Montgomery, CRDAMC Public Affairs)