Stony Brook Medicine found a new way to show appreciation for U.S. military veterans in their care.

On Friday, Nov. 9, Stony Brook University Hospital began handing out “Thank You” cards to all patients who served in the armed forces.

Stony Brook launched this initiative for Veteran’s Day weekend but has plans to continually give out appreciation notes afterwards.

“We wanted a way to recognize our veterans,” said Stony Brook Medicine’s director of patient advocacy, Roseanna Ryan. “We’ve figured this would be the right weekend to kick something off.”

Ryan, who helped develop the idea, passed out 45 cards on Friday.

“We want to thank them for their service and sacrifice,” she said. “Whoever is a member of the healthcare team will have an opportunity to sign it.”

The first-ever recipient was 69-year-old Robert Spring, a marine, who served from 1967 to 1972.

“I am honored,” said Spring, a Deer Park resident, after receiving the card. “They have great doctors and nurses here at Stony Brook.”

Spring– who has four daughters, 47 grandchildren, and six great grand children– was presented with the gift by his nurse, Elise Roth.

“He is a strong man,” said Roth. “I am very proud of him and everything that he has overcome.”

Top: Stony Brook nurse Elise Roth handing a card to veteran Robert Spring. (Credit: Nicholas Esposito) 

Veteran Robert Spring and his wife, Patti, after receiving a thank you card from Stony Brook.