The Madigan Swans Story

Description of Madigan Army Medical Center’s
Distinctive Unit Insignia

Madigan General Hospital received an official distinctive unit insignia especially designed for the hospital by the Army Institute of Heraldry on 17 July 1970. Informally called a crest, it symbolizes patient care and the Pacific Northwest area served and is inscribed with the motto “Care With Compassion.” The motto submitted by Col. David L. Deutsch, then Chief of the Department of Medicine, was selected from some 400 entries according to the 1970 Madigan General Hospital Historical Report.

Distinctive Unit Insignia Description: A gold color metal and enamel insignia 1 3/16 inches (3.02 cm) in height consisting of a white escallop shell bearing four fir trees conjoined crosswise throughout, green with maroon trunks, all above a maroon scroll inscribed "CARE WITH COMPASSION" in gold letters.

Symbolism: The colors maroon and white are used for organizations of the Army Medical Department. The shell, an emblem signifying life protection, and the fir trees, symbols of life and health, stand for Madigan. The conjoining of the trees refers to the close cooperation of the organization’s highly trained clinicians, who function as a team rather than as individuals to achieve Madigan’s patient care mission. The cross formed by the tree trunks stands for service, care and mercy. The shell, combined with the trees and the roughened lighter surrounding yellow, symbolizes the sand found on beaches located in the South Puget Sound area of Washington. Because Washington is also known as the "Evergreen State," the fir tree suggests a symbol of life, particularly of the spirit and mind, and alludes to the neuropsychiatric field of medicine in which Colonel Patrick Sarsfield Madigan, M.D., served so prominently and for whom the medical center is named.

The Madigan Swans Story

A male and female pair of Mute Swans arrived at Madigan on January 27, 1993. They came to Madigan on a mission—to add grace and character to the Madigan Ponds as well as to help keep the Canada geese away. Mute Swans are territorial and aggressive toward other wildlife, thus making good guardians.

Mute Swans are native to northern and central Eurasia. They were introduced into North America more than a hundred years ago to grace the ponds of parks and estates. The Mute Swan is a member of the duck family and one of the heaviest flying birds with adult males weighing up to 26 pounds and having average wingspans of 90 inches. Mute Swans can live up to 20 years and are easily identified by their white plumage, long curved neck and orange, black-knobbed bill.

A “Name that Swan” competition was held in 1996. The winner was ‘Lewi’ for the male swan named after Fort Lewis, and ‘Madi’ for the female swan, named after Madigan. Mute Swans are by nature monogamous for life and even though our present happy couple is not the original pair, they will forever be called Madi and Lewi.

Madi and Lewi are well taken care of by the staff veterinarians in the Department of Clinic Investigation and fed twice a day with healthy and nutritious food. To supplement their diet, Madi and Lewi are frequently seen bobbing upside down as they feed on the aquatic vegetation on the bottom of the ponds.

Madi and Lewi have become iconic figures here at Madigan. They are Madigan’s mascots and ambassadors of good will. Their beauty, elegance, and stoic presence serve to provide comfort and therapy to those in need.

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