Pomona, CA….On Saturday, February 2nd Casa Colina Centers for Rehabilitation honored LTC Rocco Armonda, M.D., Director of Cerebrovascular Surgery and Interventional Neuroradiology, Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the Bethesda National Naval Medical Center, and the young soldiers whose journey to recovery from catastrophic head injuries received in combat have been made possible by his surgical skills. At its 2008 hallmark event known as “Tribute to Courage”, Casa Colina recognized LTC Armonda’s practice on the battlefield and off for saving the lives of hundreds of soldiers suffering brain injuries during battle. But what sets LTC Armonda apart is that his concern for his patients does not end after surgery. As these “wounded warriors” proceed through medical recovery and the rehabilitation process, Dr. Armonda continues to seek the best possible care for them, including taking a lead role in fostering cooperation between the government healthcare system and private rehabilitation service providers. Casa Colina chose him as its Tribute to Courage honoree for his caring and understanding the need to not only saves lives, but also to restore the dignity of the lives of his patients.
Dr. Armonda’s photographic presentation of battlefield surgical conditions, and the challenges faced by the team dealing with traumatic brain injury in the field, dramatically demonstrated the importance of rapid medical care immediately after the injury to ensure the best possible outcomes and opportunity for the patient to achieve optimal quality of living.
Actress Bonnie Hunt, Mistress of Ceremonies for the evening, eloquently narrated the stories of the injured soldiers whose courage did not falter as they faced the long and grueling therapies needed to relearn such basic skills as swallowing, speaking, grasping and holding objects, walking, etc.
Chairman of the Board Samuel Crowe and Congresswoman Grace Napolitano expressed the gratitude of the State and Nation toward the troops, and enthusiastically praised the strong working relationship that Casa Colina and the military medical system have developed to ensure appropriate care for wounded soldiers.
The highlight of the evening was the formal military ceremony in which LTC Armonda and LtCol Paul Swanson (US Marine Corps) recognized two of Casa Colina’s patients for their heroism and formally awarded their rank advancement.
In concluding the poignant evening, Dr. Felice Loverso, President and CEO of Casa Colina, stated “On behalf of Casa Colina’s Board of Directors, I hope that Dr. Armonda and our wounded warriors appreciate the sincerity of the many messages of thanks and support expressed this evening. And I know that each of us here are honored to have heard directly from Dr. Armonda, and from our soldiers and their family members, the story of their shared experiences and their determination to make the most of the precious lives brought home to us. This is what rehabilitation is all about and we are truly honored that Dr. Armonda has allowed us to recognize his commitment to caring this evening.”
Casa Colina’s Tribute to Courage generated over $450,000 in donations which will be used to benefit those in need of the services and programs of Casa Colina, including the residential facilities on Casa Colina’s 20-acre campus in Pomona that provide many soldiers and their families “a home away from home” throughout the often lengthy rehabilitation process.
Major sponsors for the event included Neva Smith (Casa Colina founder Frances Eleanor Smith’s daughter-in-law), Noble House Entertainment, Mary Lou Jensen, Patton Sales Corp., the Royal Canadian Legion, Alton & Shirley Perkins, Casa Colina Surgery Center, Disney Worldwide Outreach, Rotary Club of Pomona, Prime Healthcare Services, the Pat and Mark Warren Family Foundation and Voyager Classics.
Casa Colina Centers for Rehabilitation is a not-for-profit organization that offers a Joint Commission-accredited rehabilitation hospital with both inpatient and outpatient services, a CARF-accredited post-acute care Transitional Living Center, long-term residential services, adult day health care, children’s services, physician specialty clinics and many other programs and services for people recovering from a debilitating injury or illness. To learn more, call 909/450-0127 or visit www.casacolina.org