Navy Corpsman Spreads a Healthy Dose of Laughter and Fun to Hospitalized Children

Daily Point of Light # 6294 Jun 29, 2018
Cole Morrie (4th from left) at Easter Seals Eggstravaganza children’s Easter egg hunt./Courtesy Cole Morrie
As an active duty Navy Corpsman for the Wounded Warrior Battalion at Camp Pendleton, Cole Morrie has dedicated his life to service, treating patients in the mental health unit as a psychiatric technician. When the 23-year-old Fallbrook, California resident has free time, Cole is still committed to service, just a different kind.

As the secretary of the Al Bahr Shrine clown unit, Cole performs in parades and events at children’s hospitals to raise spirits and, he says, hopefully give the children a break in their day from their illnesses. Devoted to making his community a safe and happy one, Cole is today’s Daily Point of Light award honoree. Points of Light spoke to him to learn more about his work.

What inspires you to volunteer?

I think if you’re not helping, you’re hurting. It’s easy to do your job and go home. Volunteering at Shriners was where there was a need, and I wanted to fill the need and help others. I like the hospital setting, and it’s a really genuine group of people. I really like working with the population that doesn’t expect anything from anyone, really. They’re just really happy you’re there and able to spend time with them.

Describe your volunteer role with Shriners.

We go to the burn center at the children’s center in Sacramento. We put on parades and performances for the children — we have about 12 parades at a minimum each year. I decided to volunteer at Shriners because it helped mix up what I do day-to-day within the hospital — but I also really enjoy helping out kids. I’ve also worked with veterans, and at Big Brothers Big Sisters, and with children who have a parent deployed, or have lost a parent due to war-related injuries.

Cole Morrie in front of the clown Calliope, ready to go to a parade./Courtesy Cole Morrie

What would the title of your autobiography be?

“To Make Someone Laugh Today”. That’s my biggest goal; if I can make one person laugh then I’ve done my job. Just to help them forget about all the bad that’s going on in their lives, even just for a bit.

What’s been the most rewarding part of your work?

We always have discussions before we do a parade or anything like that, that there may be a child who is in an abusive home, or not really in a great situation. The whole idea of being a clown is letting them forget about that situation they are in for a little and maybe just smile even for a couple of seconds. I think that’s the biggest payoff.

What have you learned through your experiences as a volunteer?

The diversity of the people I see has been a reality check. It’s very easy to forget about people who are in need or sick and go about your daily life. The constant reminder that things we have going on in our lives aren’t too bad compared to what other people struggle with everyday has really helped me grow and become a better person.

Cole Morrie (left) at the Tierra Santa Flag Day parade./Courtesy Cole Morrie

How are you giving back to veterans?

Right now in Fallbrook, we’re working on doing more for the veterans since we’re right outside Camp Pendleton. It’s important to get recognition locally for veterans – they’ve given so much to our country – so I’ve been working with the town to get more awareness and events, especially for Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

Why do you think it’s important for others to give back?  

If you’re not doing your best to help others around you, really you’re just drawing from other people. There’s so much negativity that’s going on in our world, it really does take a group effort to try to change things and change the morale of the town you live in and your community as a whole. If people aren’t chipping in, if they aren’t concerning themselves with the issues of other people, then nothing’s going to grow, nothing’s going to get better.

What do you want people to learn from your story?

There’s always time to go out and help somebody. One thing I’m always trying to do is recruit more volunteers to join me. It’s all about making helping others a priority, and it’ll just come naturally. It becomes a part of your daily life. Volunteering isn’t as hard and time consuming as people think. Sleep good at night and that will give you the energy to go out and do it again the next day.  

Do you want to make a difference in your community like Cole Morrie? Visit All For Good for local volunteer opportunities.

Post written by Marlena Militana.

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