CAMP LEJEUNE, North Carolina –
The “We are NMCCL” initiative highlights the accomplishments of employees, clinics and offices of Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune. In recent months, “We are NMCCL” has focused on those who have been working around-the-clock to ensure our patients and personnel are cared for during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to our NMCCL team, the Medical Center is fortunate to have support services, such as the Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune Marine Mart, dedicated to our staff. Sharon Edwards and Kristie Bowers, Experience Specialists for the Mini Mart, are each known to NMCCL staff as a constant, positive presence during the pandemic. Edwards and Bowers both enjoy their job and say they feel like they are part of the NMCCL team.
“I love the staff here; everyone that comes in here is super friendly, always happy, and jokes around a lot,” said Bowers.
Edwards agrees, “We have a good rapport with our customers, they know us by our first names, and we know them by theirs.”
Since early 2020 Sharon and Kristie have split shifts in order to provide full coverage of the store to keep it operational for staff, patients, and approved visitors throughout the pandemic. Robert Jones, Operations Manager for the Retail Division at Marine Corps Community Services, says the Marine Mart staff never missed a day of work during COVID-19.
“Their commitment to their jobs and to the patrons we serve allowed the store to remain open throughout the entire pandemic,” said Jones. “Our staff has been incredibly adaptive during this time, and their dedication to their jobs has allowed us to continue to serve those who have been serving the frontlines of this pandemic.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented some challenges for the Marine Mart staff. According to Edwards, they observed an increase in customers with the closing of the Lighthouse Café and the Beacon Coffee Shop in the Medical Center due to COVID 19 restrictions.
The Marine Mart became the “go-to” place for employees to purchase food and beverage items. “We had sandwiches and lunch items and they were able to stay within the hospital, but still get what they needed,” explained Edwards “I think it really helped the staff members to not have to go out of the facility to search for food.”
Due to the small size of the store, mitigation efforts to protect customers was a priority for Marine Mart employees. Social distancing placement stickers on the floors, enforcing the mask policy, and limiting the number of customers in the store to five customers at a time were all efforts used to protect the health of staff and customers.
“We would like to thank our customers for continuing to have patience with us as we enforce social distancing and mask mandates in our store,” states Jones. “We recognize the importance our hospital staff play in normal times and are honored to serve them in our small way during this unprecedented historic event.”
The Marine Mart is open Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.