GROTON, Conn. — A Sailor assigned to Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Unit (NMRTU) Groton onboard Naval Submarine Base (SUBASE) New London was honored as Service Person of the Month (SPOM) during a virtual ceremony, May 10.

Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Robert Whitney of Paso Robles was recognized by the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut (the Chamber) and the Mystic Rotary Club for his efforts in supporting COVID-19 vaccine distribution in response to the pandemic.

“In the midst of a global pandemic that has grounded many aspects of American life to a halt, Petty Officer Whitney has been the constant,” said Dara Wicken, a representative of the Chamber. “He led a cohesive team of 35 Sailors in the delivery of 10,467 vaccines to 5,980 active duty service members, civilian employees, and beneficiaries in the local area. During this tremendous undertaking, Petty Officer Whitney has been the embodiment of world-class care, anytime, anywhere.”

Whitney thanked the Chamber and Mystic Rotary for the SPOM recognition and praised his team for their help with vaccination efforts.


“I’ve been in the community for about two years now,” said Whitney. “I started out just running the clinic, mainly leadership, but once COVID-19 struck, they needed somebody, so I put up my hand and said I’d help out making sure everybody on this base and the surrounding areas get vaccinated. I know that has helped out for the number of vaccinations gone out. I can’t take full credit for it. I have a team of 35 that have definitely put me where I am today. I’m proud of what everybody’s done and all that we’ve accomplished. I’m really glad that it’s at least helping the community to decrease the spread of COVID-19. I just wanted to thank the Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club for this opportunity.”

Members of the Chamber said Whitney would receive gift cards and tickets to local attractions in the mail in addition to a plaque and certificate.

The SPOM Program is organized by the Chamber and local service clubs such as the Mystic Rotary to honor local military personnel of all branches, which not only excel in their regular duties but also go above and beyond in their contributions to their community.