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NHC Corpus Christi PAO bids farewell

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By Kat Pettaway-Clarke, NHC Corpus Christi patient relations officer

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas -- Naval Health Clinic Corpus Christi staff honored Mr. Bill Love, public affairs officer, during a luncheon commemorating his retirement from government service June 28.

Love had been the clinic's PAO since 2003, and was recognized for completing 41 years of total federal service that included 25 years on active duty in the U.S. Navy.

A native of San Antonio, Texas, Love enlisted and completed basic training at Recruit Training Command Orlando, Florida in 1970. He advanced to chief petty officer in 1980 and is a retired Navy Chief Journalist.

Love's first duty assignment was aboard the Kitty Hawk-class supercarrier USS America (CVA 66) operating in the Gulf of Tonkin.

Significant naval assignments include public affairs chief, Chief of Naval Air Training; public affairs chief, commander, Naval Forces Korea; officer in charge (OIC), Navy Broadcasting Service (NBS) Detachment (Det.) Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territory; and OIC, NBS Det., Harold E. Holt, Western Australia.

But Love didn't begin his service in the public affairs community.

In the early 70s while he was running Navy river patrol boats (PBRs) in Southeast Asia, Love says a happenstance encounter with a Navy photojournalist named Tony Waters changed his life forever!

"His photo feature assignment about me on my PBR resulted in a half-page feature story in the Sunday edition of my hometown newspaper, The San Antonio Light," Love said. "Needless to say, my mom and dad, who I missed very much, were proud to share the photos and newsprint with friends and relatives. What a realization that was for me!"

Love says that Waters' photo essay had three very important affects: it captured the essence of his service in a foreign land, it strengthened his family ties half a world beyond, and it induced him into making an exciting career change.

"Because of Waters - the unwitting recruiter - I immersed myself in the Navy for the next two decades," Love stated.

He was so impressed by Waters' talent, its positive impact, and the gratification that his family and friends derived from it that Love made up his mind to become a journalist so that he could put his talents to work and extend that pleasure to others.

For the next 20 years, whether writing feature stories or capturing images on film, Love brought men and women doing their jobs - serving our country - into sharp focus for thousands of American service members, their families and friends.

As a military journalist he enjoyed one of the most rewarding jobs that anyone could imagine, and he says that his work was top fun, every day! "How many people do you know who can make that claim?" he asked.

As a civil service employee for the Department of the Navy for the past 16 years, Love continued to write news and publish images of our Navy and civilian men and women because he strongly believes that what they do is important, and they very much deserve the recognition and our sincere appreciation for their service to our nation.

Love added that each of us loves being in the spotlight and seeing our names in print.

"As far as I am concerned that is morale in its purest form," he explained. "And when you add it all up, there are very few things more gratifying than delighting over images and stories of people dear to us - ourselves included - engaged in worthwhile, fun and honorable pursuits. The images that I shot and the articles I wrote during my career were intended to prolong that satisfaction."

In his final remarks before departing NHC Corpus Christi, Love underscored the significance of helping others, drawing on Maya Angelou's quote, I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.'

"We've matured together, we've taken a bite out of life, and it's been great fun. I'm going to miss each of you more than you know thank you very much for your friendship and kindness."

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