”All Your Thanks and Appreciation Make Me Proud to Serve.”

I know it has been a while since you heard from me, but I have been busy.  A marine died on Wednesday, and I went to ICU to visit our volunteer who was there.  I packed seven more boxes for the mail room and I only have two more boxes to pack on Monday.  Our patient load has been very, very light, if none at all.  I have been asked to help take some patients to a cathedral in a small town about 90 minutes from here.  That is on Thursday, so I will not be in the WWMC then.

I worked 9 hours Wednesday thanks to the Mignella Family!

Thursday we took 11 patients to the cathedral and they all had a wonderful time.  They took hundreds of pictures and had a good lunch.  Everyone agreed that the German buildings are wonderful to look at and it was nice for them to get out of the hospital environment for the day.  I had five patients that hung out with me.  We were considered the “bad” group.  One of the guys, Michael, is from NJ.  He is quite the character and asked me to tell all of you, “All your thanks and appreciation make me proud to serve.”  That makes us, you and I, proud to be an American.  We all do our part.  It keeps us motivated.  Thank you Sgt Tucholski.

I have invited three of the patients to dinner on Friday night.  They are all from different units and different parts of the country.  One is from NJ, one from Iowa and one from VA.  I thank you for contributing to their dinner and will let you know how it goes.

I worked 9 hours Thursday thanks to Steve and Glenda Abernathy!
We had an Air Force Reservist come in to volunteer on Thursday and Friday morning.  All the store rooms look super.  We got store room 1 finished and we worked on 2 and 3 on Friday.

We had no arrival of patients and that is always a wonderful thing.  It gives everyone so much needed breathing room.

At 4:45, I met with the three patients that are guests of LHCP members for dinner.  Since the restaurant does not open until 5:30, I took them to Castle Nastein in Landstuhl.  It is assumed to be older than the first authentic mention of it in 1189, but the presumed actual origin date of 1162 is not firmly proven.  If you wish to see the castle as the patients did and learn some about the castle you can visit :

https://www.keithlaney.net/Legendary_Castles_of_the_Palatinate/Nanstein/castle_nanstein.htm

The patients were very impressed and we spent about 1.5 hours at the castle.  We then went to dinner and they had their fill of lamb and steaks.  They enjoyed the meal very much, they even cleaned their plates with the bread.

We sat and talked about everything from their childhood to marriages or lack of.  We talked about motorcycles and trucks.  Gerhart, the owner, came over several times to talk with them and Gabi came out of the kitchen to see how they liked their meal.  They just could not get over how good it was.  The steaks were at least two inches thick and they were shocked that they could cut it with their butter knives.  They reminded me several times to thank those back home that made this possible.  We then decided on some ice cream for dessert, but no one wanted the whole desert, so I ordered two with 4 spoons.  If they send me the picture, I will post it.

I worked 8.5 hours at LRMC, and then I was with the patients for the caste and dinner until 9:30.  I took them back to the base and then went to do laundry.  I finished that wonderful task at 12:30 am.

Saturday they again did not have staff to take patients on a tour, so they asked if I would go.  Saturday is my day to regroup, but I could not turn them down.  I have been on the Rhein Cruise when we were stationed here, but it was nice to see the patients enjoying themselves away from the hospital.  Muster was at 7:30, so I had to be there a little earlier to get the first aid kit, snacks and drinks together.

The patients had about 1 hour in St. Goar.  St. Goar is located on the Rhine, in the section known as the Rhine Gorge, and is impressively situated between mountains which rise on either side of the river.  It is known particularly for the legend of the Loreley, associated with the dangerous Loreley rocks which are a hazard to shipping.  It is also famous for the ruined castle Burg Rheinfels.  We then boarded the boat.  Everyone wanted to go to the open air top, but it did not take long for them to move downstairs once we got started and they realized how cold it was.  I remained on top with several patients until we were about 30 minutes to our destination; then we all moved downstairs for some coffee or hot tea.

We boarded our bus again to head out for lunch and then to the Niederwald monument in Rudesheim.  The monument is over 132 ft high and about 120 ft wide.  The main figure on the monument is the Germania, bearing the Imperial sword and the German Emperor’s crown.  32 tons of bronze were required for casting the weighty lady.  On one side of the monument is the angel of war and the other side is the angel of peace.  There are over 200 people shown on the monument.  I took pictures of patients in front of the monument.  They were only given 20 minutes, so it was back on the bus for the trip down the hill to the city of Rudesheim for two hours of walking and seeing the sites.  Some of the patients wanted to go shopping, while others wanted to go to a Torture Museum.  You got it; I took my group to the Museum.  I was shocked – I still found it after 13 years.  We had everyone back on board at 6:00 and headed for LRMC.  We returned at 7:30, put things back up, and I headed for the hotel.

These trips are a wonderful way for the patients to relax and have some decompression time, but I am beat, my feet and back hurt from carrying a backpack with gifts the patients bought for their loved ones back home.  Tomorrow, I have promised to take some other patients shopping in Landstuhl and then to Ramstein.

I worked 12.5 hours today thanks to our own LHCP vice president – Jim Spliedt.

GOOD NIGHT

Job’s Daughters

Job's Daughters and Jim
Job’s Daughters

For her service project Hailey Beeton, from the Job’s Daughters Bethel #60 from Soda Springs Idaho, elected to raise funds for LHCP in March for phone cards. With the assistance from other members of the Job’s Daughters she collected an impressive $521 in four weeks. Hailey presented James Spliedt a check during their monthly annual meeting on April 14.

Caribou County Sun, Soda Springs, Idaho
Thursday, April 23, 2009
 

Hailey Beeton, right, presented Jim Spliedt a check for $521 for the Landstuhl Hospital Care Project. Hailey placed donation cans all over Soda Springs and the money well be used to buy phone cards for the service men and women who are wounded, sick, or injured in the Landstuhl Hospital.


 

Job Daughters Idaho
Job’s Daughters

CSH Nurse+LHCP President Meet at LRMC

Today was a very slow day for patients.  We only got 14 new patients and that is very good for a Monday.  Two are in bad shape and I pray that the one that went to ICU has the will and determination to live a meaningful and productive life.

Today was spent cleaning out store room 2 and part of 3. I had 4 other volunteers working with me today, so we got a lot accomplished.  I have 8 more boxes of excess ready to go to the Middle East.  We still have so much excess I am unsure I will be able to rid LRMC of it.

Last Friday I was introduced to a new liaison, Kim.  She will be here for 3 years.  I did not think much of the introduction until today.  She came in with her two new patients.  I got the patients going on the little bit of paperwork they have to do and then showed them where to find the towels, toiletries and clothing.  I don’t really know what Kim said, but something made a connection in my tired brain and I realized that she was at a CSH a while back and I had sent items from LHCP directly to her.

When I made the connection, I could not help but tell her that I had sent her stuff while she was in the Middle East.  All of the sudden, she said “Karen Grimord.”  She of course did not pronounce the last name correctly, but if you ask my in-laws, neither do I.  I told her I was Karen and she let out a big shriek and hugged me.  She then had to tell everyone in the WWMC that the Landstuhl Hospital Care Project had shipped supplies to her while she was at the CSH.  She told them that everything from blankets, pillows, clothing, endoscope, otoscopes, shoes, sheets, snacks, extra tall crutches, and duffel bags at her CSH were from the LHCP.

She told the patients that we provided everything her CSH needed.  That when she could not get pillows, she asked if we could send some and in a short time they were there.  One of the patients asked if they were the little travel ones and she said yes.  He laughed and said he had one and had a good morphine high on it – that it was a great pillow.  We all laughed and she said it was not just pillows, but the wonderful blankets and sheets.  We have Standard Textile to thank for that shipment.  She said she needed otoscopes and LHCP sent 2 to her.  She just kept saying what a small world it was and she was so happy that we got to meet.  I still do not know what she said for me to make the connection, but I am really happy that we got to meet in person.  It is not often that we get to meet those that we provide LHCP items to.

Thank you to all those that support us, it is days like today that make it all worthwhile.  None of us will ever know when we will meet a patient or hospital staff that we have supported.  When it happens to you savor that moment and let it fill your heart with joy and pride.

Friday, I worked 8 hours and today, Monday I worked 8 hours.  Thanks to Shari Miller for helping make this trip possible!

You Must Be The Talented One

Last night after work, I went to one of the German hospitals to visit “my personal’ body guard.”  There is a picture of the two of us in another blog.  He has been out of work sick for a while.  The hospital is about 30 minutes away and I have never been to that part of Germany.   The guest house owners gave me a map, wrote directions and then gave me a hotel cell phone.  I told them if I was not back by midnight to send out the rescue/search teams.  Their directions were perfect.  I only had to make one small turn around in the town where I was going.  The bad thing was, my “Bob” told me he was in ward 9 room 11.  I got to the hospital and there was no one to help get me to that ward.  I got in the elevator and noticed there were only 8 floors.  Oh, no, now what.  I got out of the elevator and found a young man in a wheel chair.  I explained to him what I was looking for and he said there is no 9.  There are only 8 floors.  I told him that I noticed that, but my friend said 9 room 11.  He asked if I understood my friend correctly.  I told him that it was a text message and I had to believe it was correct.  Then he said he understood that the German E on the elevator was actually floor 1 in the US.  So maybe my friend did it for US and not German.  He told me to check floor 8.  He went to floor 6.  On the way up, he said it was interesting that an American was looking for a friend in 9.11.  That was a very bad day for everyone across the world and no one will forget that number.

I went to floor 8, and sure enough, the rooms were all marked 8.  I finally found a hospital worker and explained my situation.  He looked at the paper that I had written the information on.  He said this is the correct hospital, but they do not have a 9, only have 8 floors.  I told him my friend had to be there.  He made 2 phone calls with no success.  Then he asked me what my friend’s name was.  Don’t you know my brain went dead.  For the life of me, I could not remember “Bob’s” German name.  I told him it was “Bob,” but I did not remember the last name.  Now you have to realize that “Bob” is not a German name.  So when I told him “Bob” he looked at me funny and asked if this was a German friend.  I told him yes.  He got back on the phone and the only thing I understood him saying was “Bob” and 9.11.  He hung up the phone and told me to follow him, that he could not explain how to get to 9.11.  We got to ward 9, yeah!!!  He told a nurse we were looking for Bob.  She had gone to some of her rooms and was asking if any of them were known as Bob.  My friend told the nurse that he was, and so he was expecting me when I knocked on his door.  The door opened so fast it scared me and there was Bob!  He gave me a bear hug and I turned to the man who was helping me and I said see, “this is my friend Bob.”  We had a good talk for about an hour and I told him I had to go since it was getting really dark and I did not know the area.  I made it back to the guest house with no problems.  The lady of the guest house heard me come in and came out of their apartment.  I turned to her and put my hands in the air as to cheer that I made it back ok.  She gave me a big hug and all was right in the world again.

This morning as I was getting ready to go to work I heard a car trying to start from the guest house parking lot.  You could tell the battery was dead, but they were still trying.  I went down and asked who the man was.  I found out he was American and had to get to LRMC.  I went outside and spoke with him and he told me he had a CAT scan scheduled at 8.  It was 5 til, so I told him I would take him.  I dropped him off and went back to the guest house for my breakfast.  I normally do not eat breakfast, but Gaby does not make anything bad and that includes breakfast.  I am going to be spoiled by the time I leave here and will miss her good cooking.

Store room 4 is almost finished.  Some last minute clean up tomorrow and we should have it done, thanks to a volunteer who came in and helped work on it all day with me.

We found more blank greeting cards today and I now know we really could open up a card shop.  I have sent 4 very large boxes of blank cards to the Middle East and could probably send 3 more.  I managed to also get 4 boxes of razors, t-shirts, stationary items and pens, sent out.

We had some VIP’s come through today.  We had a very nice time and they were talking about the amount of time it took to keep everything running smooth here.  When they were getting ready to leave, I told them on their next visit to wear jeans and a sweat shirt and I could put them to work.  They both laughed and one of them said he would be sure to wear his shirt and tie and the other said he would make sure not to come back while I was there.

We have a very large amount of items the WWMC can’t use.  These items are usually used clothing, so we have to pack them up and someone takes them to the German Red Cross.  We have had about 10 large boxes that have been sitting here since I came to work at the beginning of the month.  I told one of the chaplain’s assistants that I needed his help.  He and I have a wonderful relationship.  He is always promising to get a task done on a certain day for me and I always know that he will not get it done.  He is so busy, that just taking items to the Red Cross is difficult.  Anyway, I asked him to take them and he said he would have them out on Tuesday.  I knew he would not, especially since I was not there on Tuesday.  So on Wednesday, I saw him bright and early and he started promising me again.  He went to PT and on his return I started harassing him again about the Red Cross items.  He told me that he had to take a shower first and at 11:15 he would take them.  I told him that at 11:16, if he was not out of  the shower, I was going to open the shower door and tell him he was late.  He started laughing and said if anyone would do it, I would and he would not be in the shower at 11:15.  By 11:30 the shipment was packed up and ready to go.  That opened up just a small section of storage room 4, but at least it gave us more space to work.

I can embarrass myself anywhere, and I proved that yesterday.  I was packing up excess items for the Middle East.  We wear a badge on a lanyard around our necks.  I was holding the flaps down on a box, and just as I was getting the label in place, my badge fell into the tape.  I did not react quickly enough and taped my badge to the box.  Not just a small corner of the badge, but the entire thing!  Here I am, bent over the box with legs spread to help hold the box flaps down and stuck to the box.  I actually had to laugh at the picture it would have been if someone else was in the room.  Then I thought, “oh, this is not good if someone did come into the WWMC.”  I had just let go of the roll of tape when I heard the outside door open.  My worst fear..patients are going to see me stuck to the box.  Just my luck, not only one patient would see this stupid trick, but 3 patients and one liaison walked in.  The first patient looked at me and said, “Need some help?”  When I looked up, the liaison was just coming through the door.  The only thing he could say was, “So you must be the talented one.”  It is ok, you can laugh, I do.  I have embarrassed myself worse than this over the years.

We had quite a few combat related injuries arrive today.  There were 3 Purple Heart ceremonies today, but I did not work with the patients too much as there was a volunteer in the WWMC and I worked inside the storage room.  I work where I am needed, and those storage rooms are definitely in need during this visit.

I worked 8 hours today – thanks to Laura Haynes for helping make this possible!

I Had to See Him For What He Looked Like Before

Today we were just swamped.  I started the morning taking boxes from store room 4.  It is a mess in there and my mission for this week is to get it straightened out.  I also went to see the patients arriving at LRMC today, first time since I have been here this trip.  We had some of the most worst-off patients since I have arrived here.

A young man was the first to come off, and when he was rolled into the ER entrance, you could only see his feet and head.  The rest of this young man was covered with medical equipment.   He was obviously swollen and unresponsive to those around him who were telling him he was safe in Germany.

The patient that will stick with me today out of the 60-plus patients was a young man who had severe burns, shrapnel, and blisters to his face.  One of the young women who was helping unload the bus turned her face from him.  The liaison that was standing next to me grabbed my arm and just looked at me.  I could not turn away.  I had to see him for what he looked like before.  I had to see through the disfigured face he now owned.  This young man had a mom out there who would never see her young son’s beautiful face any more.  As I looked at him, I had the same feeling that many of them have given me over the years.  I so wished that he knew how much we all cared and respected him.  The more I tried to send him my heart, the more I felt lost.  I worry what will happen to these men and woman in 5 years, 10 years, 25 years.  Will Americans still care about them?  Will it still be the “in thing to do?”  We have to, we can no longer treat our military members like we have in the past,  WE CAN NOT FORGET THEM!

As the more seriously injured were taken off the bus, the second bus arrived with more litter patients.  I noticed that many had the thermal weave blankets covering them.  These are the blankets that we sent all the EMEDS, CSH, and BAS for their winter use.  I noticed many of them had familiar fabric covering the little travel pillows that we also send.  One had the beautiful fleece blanket that left LHCP several months ago with eagles soaring.  You know who you are and please tell your mom I thank her for creating such a beautiful piece of warmth for our wounded.  I had awed over the work done on this blanket when it arrived at LHCP.  I had teased Brian that this one would not make its way to the Middle East.  It had my name on it, but as all items donated to LHCP, it did make its way to the Middle East and I could not have been more proud when I saw it on one of our critical patients today.  We had 8 litter patients all with our blankets and pillows.  Then several more with just our pillows, then several more with the wooly Army blankets covering them.  I watched to see what liaison went to those patients so I can make sure we have support going to the hospital in which those patients came from.

One of the liaisons touched my shoulder and asked if I could help with one of his female patients.  She had no shoes and she needed some before she could leave the ER area for the many tasks ahead of her.  I went inside the ER as they were trying to get her off the litter.  The liaison asked her what size shoe she wore.  She did not reply but looked at him totally lost.  He asked her again what size shoe with the same response.  So I bent down in front of her and said, “Hun, my name is Karen and I am going to bring you some new shoes.  Can you tell me what size you wear?”  She looked me right in the face and connected with what I was asking.  She gave me her shoe size and off I went to get them from the WWMC.  I took them back just as the ambulatory patients were heading in for their accountability briefing.  This is just a quick check to make sure we have the patients expected to arrive here and what unit each one belongs to, so the right liaison has the right patients.

I went back to the WWMC to finish the work I had started earlier.  There was a volunteer who did a great job unloading the boxes that I had brought into the WWMC from the storage room just as the buses were coming in.  She had managed to unpack the 6 or 7 boxes and get all the items on the shelves.  She then left for the day and I went back to get more items just as our daily mail came.  I got all those boxes unpacked and put on shelves.  Please promise me one thing, no matter if you ship through LHCP or directly to units you are supporting, DO NOT put food in with clothing; do not put food in with books; do not put soft food items with canned food items; and do not put food in with toiletries.  The food does not make it safely.

If you belong to DAR, American Legion, K of C, VFW, or any group, please inform those that support the WWMC we do not have ANY need for books.  NONE, ZERO, ZIP, I cannot say it any more clear than that.  We have no need for legal pads of paper or blank greeting cards or stationery.  We have no need at LRMC for sun screen, mouse traps, insect repellent, or mosquito strips.  It is a waste of these great organizations money.

Tonight while sitting in the guest house restaurant, they received a phone call for an American reservation.  The couple arrived a short time later.  They were on vacation here when her husband got very ill.  Since he is retired military, he can be treated at LRMC.  His wife is at her wits end.  I started doing the thing many tell me is my specialty – getting information without coming right out and asking.  She told me that her husband had a lot of tests done today and she was so impressed with the hospital and staff here.  She said they have to go back in the morning for more tests.  Since the gate we go through in the evening to get to the guest house is not the same you can enter in the morning, I asked what time the appointment is.  I will take her and her husband to the hospital so she does not get lost.  I gave her a calling card I had so she can call their adult children and let them know what the doctors say.

Today I worked 9 hours courtesy of Larry Walley.  Thank you for helping make this trip possible!

Chocolate Easter Bunnies

This weekend I had not planned to work, but my plans got changed.  We had a rather large flight come in on Saturday, so I worked 4 hours and then decided to wash clothes.

We have some chocolate bunnies left over from the German company that donated them, so we gave them out to the patients that came in and some were taken to the USO here at Landstuhl.  I spent about 4 hours at the USO tonight just “hanging out” and talking with some of the people that came in.

One of the patients came into the WWMC on Saturday.  He remembered my name and showed me the sneakers he had on.  They were from the WWMC and one of the pairs that we had shipped to LRMC.  Many of the troops want black, gray, brown, or blue clothing.  If they choose black sweat pants, they want a black sweat shirt.  He is the first one on this trip that wanted tan sweat pants with a brown sweat shirt, white & black sneakers and a nice burnt orange shirt.  Now the shirt he had to buy with his $250 voucher that the GOV gives to them but he got the rest of his clothing from the WWMC.  Most of the guys say their wives dress them when they are home, but this guy needed no help.

Another patient I met a few days ago was also there.  She came up to say hi and let me know that her friend had to go back to the states yesterday.  She was not doing well and they sent her out ahead of schedule.  She was going back to her base to seek treatment, but now is at Walter Reed.  I plan to make a trip there when I get back stateside.

The USO is a nice facility, they have a small section for the guys to hang out and play cards or board games.  There is a kitchen area where they served an Easter dinner on paper plates that the men and woman could take back to their room, sit outside, or eat in front of the TV.  The weather here has been very nice and many of the patients are sitting outside and soaking up the sun.  The USO has computers, so everyone can check on email or send a loved one the daily update.  There are phones that they can use to call home for free.

They had a lot of volunteers there.  I wish some would come to the WWMC.  We could use 3 or 4 of them just to sort through mail.  When I got here, the storage rooms were not quite as nicely organized as when I left, but the chaplain’s assistants have so much to do during the day that the storage rooms don’t get a daily make-over.  I don’t know if I can get everything in them organized before I leave, but I will try.  At least I’ll make sure that I don’t add to it.   It is looking a little better by getting some of the excess packed up and shipped to our units in the Middle East.

My friend’s memorial service is Tuesday and I will not be working that day.  I thank all of you for your understanding.

With A Tease And A Thanks

We had a troop brought in with an infection and was placed in ICU.  His mom was called, and after talking with the young man’s liaison, I told him to stop by the WWMC for a quilt that I had just unpacked.  There were about 20 quilts that were just beautiful.  They were a little large, but very nice.  Just as we were talking, the mom was brought in by another liaison.   Since the first liaison had to go, I went back to the WWMC and grabbed one of the quilts and took it to ICU.  I got there just as she was being briefed by the doctors.  I just handed the quilt to the liaison and left, it’s not my place to stand there as a mom is getting told about her son’s condition.  Later, the liaison came down to thank me.  Well, to thank me the best way some of them know how – with a tease that I was not as unbalanced as I looked.  He gave me a pat on the back and said thanks.

Just knowing that this kid had a bad infection reminded me of Justin and has me thinking about him.  Many of you might have joined after this kid grabbed my heart and I shared the stories with the yahoo group, but you can find it in the messages on the yahoo group.  I hope that they can get this patient’s infection under control quickly.

Shrapnel Wounds To The Face

I am up at 7 and not finished with LRMC and LHCP work until 11 or 12.  The one day I had off I did laundry and sat outside and read a book.  I think this weekend I try to find some place to go and relax without being on my feet for 8 hours straight.  That broken metatarsal fracture still drives me to walk on half my foot on days like today.

I know you probably think I have disappeared in the German countryside, but I am still here.

It has been busy here, and I hurt.  My feet hurt, my back hurts, my neck hurts and my fingertips hurt.  It must be ripping open the incoming boxes and taping the outgoing ones.  Next year, I will bring my own tape and tape gun. Using a pair of scissors and a small roll of tape is horrible.  I am spoiled and I will admit it! I like my commercial tape gun and blades.

Even  after I got into my car to go back to the hotel, I just sat there thinking wow, I hurt.  I had to stop and think about it…and think about the heroes we serve.  “You’ve been working all day…you’ve had a hard week…at least you know LHCP is doing something critical that really makes a difference.”  These guys may never remember my name or know LHCP is the non-profit that provides so many of the items they take from the WWMC, but they will remember the really nice, comforting Airman, Marine, Soldier, Sailor, and, I hope, volunteer who understood and gave whatever help they could.  Having staff like those that serve here at those critical times will make all the difference in the world to them.  So, I had to stop and think “do I really hurt that bad and how tough was today….really…”

Every year I come, I try to help LRMC with excess supplies.  Patients do not take large tubes of toothpaste, large bottles of shampoo, conditioner, etc and it piles up.  So, I try to find a contact in the Middle East that can use the items or through out those items that have expired.  We have so many blank greeting and holiday cards, we could start a gift card shop.  The patients just do not send letters home from here.  They have free phone cards and it is much nicer to call than send a letter or card.

We have an amazing amount of 2X-3X size clothing.  I guess people think everyone in the military is BIG.

We unpacked a box today of white undershirts every single one had the side seam ripped all the way up the shirt.  I am not sure the reason, maybe the sender thinks we have a seamstress here.

This morning, I went to the German post office to purchase boxes for shipping the excess items to our contacts.  They would not take the credit card, so my landlord here purchased them for me.  The post office was trying to tell him I could go to an ATM machine a few blocks down, but Gerhert paid until I could get some more Euro.  They are fantastic people and very helpful.

This morning, a patient arrived in a wheel chair.  He was being pushed by a young man I thought might work on one of the wards.  Come to find out, they were both patients.  It is an amazing thing to see that they still care for each other even when they are wounded or ill.  Being in combat can produce ties that some families do not even have.

This afternoon, as I was preparing boxes for the mail room, 3 young men came in.  One had shrapnel wounds to his face and both his hands were bandaged.  He told me that he had decided to have some work done and it was much cheaper to have it done this way instead of paying for a plastic surgeon.  He had a great sense of humor and will be back in a few days to let me see how well he is healing.

My first patient and the last patient for today sum up how our troops feel about the WWMC.  The first patient said he “felt like a kid in a candy store.”  All new clothing and it is all free.  The last patient just kept saying he felt bad taking the items that he was collecting and putting into his bag.  He said he had been home for a family member’s funeral 3 months ago and he had been spit on at the airport in Atlanta.  This is the second time I have heard this.  The first time was a few years ago in the Miami airport.  That should turn you inside out thinking about it.  Both of these were very young kids serving their country.

Our coalition forces are being hammered right now.  Canadian forces and Romanian forces are being hit really hard, and they also are amazed at the items they can receive for free.  The coalition forces I saw doing rounds today were much worse off than any of the American forces I saw.  A Romanian had a gaping hole in his leg about 12 inches long.  It was obvious that the doctors did a fantastic job on his wound, keeping his leg together.  It must be difficult on staff at CSH not knowing what really happens to their patients once they leave their care.

An escort for two patients said she felt like she was lying by telling her patients they were going someplace that would really take care of them.  Now that she is at LRMC, she knows she did not lie, but actually understated the fantastic team at LRMC.

The patient that I wrote about several days ago (with the back injury and I carried her bags to her room) came back in today.  She was feeling better and looks like she will have to have surgery.  I have invited her and her friend to dinner here at my guest house on Friday.  I would like to have an LHCP member sponsor this meal.  Send Sharon and Maria a private email and let them know you wish to sponsor one or both their meals.  I would guess that each meal will be about 20 euro or $25.  If you wish to add a dessert to their meal, please send $35.  Thank you in advance.

Tomorrow is Good Friday and I hope it will be slow.  I have to make my trip to the ER in the morning because I still cannot give myself my own shot.  I have catheterized, placed suprapubic tubes, removed stitches, and taken IV’s out, ALL ON OTHER PEOPLE.  There is just something about sticking that needle in me that I have not accomplished yet.  I did not know I was such a wimp.

Yesterday, I met a young woman who is the head nurse for a new CSH we will be supporting.  She heads back to Iraq tomorrow and we have flip flops on the way to her.  I have 14 units that need sheets again.  We need to get some more purchased.  I would like to purchase 1000 sheets ASAP.  Many of you have purchased sheets for us before.  I am sure someone can post the link to the company.

Tuesday I worked 8 hours

Wednesday I worked 8 hours

Today I worked 8 hours.

Thank you Callie Waddell for your contribution which made this possible

Karen’s LRMC Blog #4

Today is Saturday and it was a little busy, but not like the old days of 2007 when it was non-stop patients.  If I had to guess, I’d say we had 22 patients today.  One young man was a return from yesterday, he looked much better than he did a short 24 hours ago.  He has a spot on his face that got infected.  No one seems to know how or why, but they had to put a stitch in and the swelling has gone down a lot.  He will be heading back to his unit in a few days.

I talked to another young man today that volunteered to work here at LRMC.  His battle buddy died a while back and since he also has a war injury, he can not go back to the Middle East.  He said he has only been to one military funeral and that was his friends and that he will never go to another.

So many of these kids are looking for their lives to be affirmed, they want to know that their lives have value and that they are valued by others.  Unfortunately, in today’s world, that does not happen as often as it should.  Many of them feel alone, worthless, and lost.  I still find it amazing that after all these years, we still do not touch enough lives with the passion we have to support, care, and even love them.  The more lives we can touch, the more confident they become and just maybe we can help with the healing process.  Not just physically, but with mental health problems.

It is nice to see any of our men and women come into the Wounded Warrior Ministry Center, but it is disheartening to hear that they do not believe they are worthy of all the items people from across our country and the world have sent.

We must never get tired of doing what is right.  We might not be able to bandage their wounds, but we do have a hand in whether they are broken-hearted.  We must use our experiences and talents to help heal them.  Not just now, but for years to come – just as if they were your own child.

As I was leaving tonight, a man came in that seemed burned out – lost and confused.  As the LNO was telling him how to go about filling his bag with clothing, the look on his face was, “I am hearing you, but I have no clue what you are telling me.”  I smiled at him and told him not to worry,  I was there to help.

Most of the LNO’s, nurses, chaplains, and doctors here are great, but I think that many of them handle the stress of what they see by shutting down.  At times, the exhaustion and failure to push on is just too great.  It is not just the patients that are tapped out emotionally, mentally, and physically; but also the staff that care for them.  They do not see a patient in front of them that is also burned out and lost.  They see a patient with an infection, a lost hand, or heart problems.

This is where LHCP can help.  This is where we need to really concentrate on only sending the items and quantities that staff members need and/or want.  When we send items they can not use or want, we cause another hassle in their lives that they do not need.  We have to be open to listening and not just talking.  We have to stop and not tell our story, but listen to their stories.  Sometimes just to have someone listen is the greatest healing tool available to us.  Visit a VA hospital, join a veteran’s organization and just listen to the stories.  You will accomplish much and possibly heal more than the visible wounds.

I was hurt today when a young man told me he could not share his story.  He felt people would know how horrible a person he was for some of the things he had done.  He had shut down and bottled it inside.  After touching his arm, I told him I wanted to hear his story.  I wanted to know anything he wished to tell me.  I was not going to pass judgment on anything he had done, that we all have done things we may not be proud of in war or our normal lives, but I wanted to be a part of his life and his story.  Due to OPSEC, I can not tell you his story, but when he was finished he asked to hug me.  He said he didn’t know he would feel so much better just saying it out loud and having someone listen.  I told him that he may have to tell the story several more times to really be able to heal.  He said that he was no longer afraid to talk to someone about those things that he felt horrible about.   When you just sit and listen, you allow a person to tap into your strength, protection, and love.  What greater gift can we give than a part of ourselves?  What greater gift than to not pass judgment on actions we have not lived through ourselves.

I worked 6 hours today.  Thank you Anne Dankberg, for your contribution to the work-a-thon.

I am tired and need to recharge my own battery.  Tomorrow is Sunday and I will not be working.

LDS Volunteers

I do not like military training days.  The hospital staff is gone and it makes for some very long hours.  I went to work at 9:00 and left at 2:30.  This morning, I worked with a very nice couple from Utah that is here for 18 months with their church doing work.  We stocked shelves and straightened up.  Other than that, it was very slow.

It is interesting to hear stories from those that come through here.  I met a woman who was a state trooper.  She had never served in the military, nor gave it much thought.  She joined the Army a few years ago because it was something she felt she needed to do.  She is now at LRMC because her back is really bad.  She would like to stay in, but thinks that she will be told she has to leave her military service due to her condition.  Because the doctor had given her a shot in her spine, she was unsteady on her feet.  So, I walked with her to the barracks and carried the duffel bag full of goodies we had filled for her.

LRMC is in need of some small tubes of toothpaste here.  With Sharon’s work-a-thon for my trip here, LHCP has been able to purchase 5,000 tubes of travel size toothpaste.  I thank all of you for your contributions and I look forward to seeing if our goal is met.  Our shipment should last them for a while.

Judy B., thank you for the comfort pillows that went out on the shelves today.  I can tell you 4 of them went on the shelf and I remember one being camouflage fabric.

Our Kohl’s order of towels is still holding strong and more of them went out today.

We could use 3 or 4 pairs of women’s size 5 and 6 running shoes.  They must be running shoes.  We have many of the larger sizes, but once in a great while, a very small woman comes in and we need a smaller size.

We also need men’s small flannel pajama bottoms.  I would guess 15-20 pairs will be enough to last through the chilly weather.

The mother I met yesterday was back today.  We talked a while and she is doing much better today.  I gave her my contact information, so she can let me know when her daughter is back in the States.  I will go to Walter Reed then and see if we can help with any needs they might have.

I worked 5.5 hours today and wish to thank Alice Blanchard for her contribution to the work-a-thon.

The Pain of a Family Member

One Day Finished

There are many things around here that change with every visit and there is one thing that does not.  It is the pain of a family member who has a child here; it doesn’t matter if the child is 2, 22, or 32.

The mom of an ICU patient came in today.  I knew right away she had been crying, she wasn’t all red and puffy, but I could tell.  She had flown to Landstuhl immediately after getting the phone call that her daughter was here.  I have been on both sides of the hospital bed; the patient and the mother of the patient.  As the parent of a patient, it is as if a thick cloud has descended on you and you’re being suffocated.  With each breath, you feel as if your heart, mind, and body are paralyzed.  Your mind spins with the what ifs.   There is no peace within.

She explained that her daughter was in ICU and she needed a few items while she was here.  She started crying and leaned towards me.  As much as I could, I let her know with my eyes I was here for her and gave her a hug.  She said she had lost a child many years ago.  It was clear that the pain was as fresh as if it had happened last week and it was playing through her head “what if” it was to happen again.

She told me her daughter had a positive outlook and that she, too had to stay positive for her daughter.  I told her that having a positive outlook was half the battle.  She said that she knew, but that she just had a difficult time seeing her daughter here.  She explained that her father had been in the military before she was born; that this had been a fear of hers.

We talked about the beautiful quilts on the shelf and I pulled one down that was close to the colors that she had on.  I told her that we often refer to our quilts as a “hug from home.”  I put the quilt around her and gave her another hug.

The chaplain told her that we were here, if she needed to come down and cry, yell, or fuss.  I also told her we were here if she needed to take a walk with someone, or if she just needed a shoulder.

Fear can be a horrible creature.  It feels as if destruction is all around us and we will never capture nor conquer it.  We must turn to others for support and release it.  The chaplains here provide such an outlet.  They help to cage that horrible creature so control can be gained, little by little.

Today was also another long day of breaking toiletry bags down.  We needed small tubes of toothpaste and I had the great pleasure of disassembling all the bags that someone had obviously taken lots of time to put together.  Many of the snack bags had to be thrown away because they were full of hotel sized items that had leaked onto the other contents in the bag.  As in the past, I have arrived the day before a training holiday for the military.  Tomorrow I will work, but the military personnel will be gone.  I really don’t know how this happens every year, but I will work and it will be a great pleasure to do so.

Today I worked 9 hours, and I thank Sharon and Tom Buck for their contribution.

Daniel Tsue

Sgt. Daniel Tsue—April 2009 Shipment Honoree

In Remembrance: Locals killed in Iraq and Afghanistan during 2005

Source: The Voice Kaleo by Hannah Miyamoto
Daniel Tsue
Daniel Tsue

Tsue was killed by an IED in Iraq on Nov. 1, 2005. He graduated from Kahuku High School in 1996. He was a specialist in disarming bombs; he successfully disabled 63 IEDs. His aunt, Joan Murata, remembered that as a child, he solved math equations faster than they could be written out.

He attended UH Hilo for one semester before he joined the Marines. While in Iraq, he told his parents he would stay an extra six months because he was single to “save some married guy from having to leave his family.” He was buried in Punchbowl National Cemetery. He was 27 years old.


Marine kept cool amid daily danger

Source: William Cole, The Honolulu Advertiser
Daniel Tsue Family Picture
Daniel Tsue Family Picture

Two days into duty in Iraq, Sgt. Daniel Akio Tsue experienced his first roadside bomb attack when he and fellow Marines conducted an impromptu traffic stop.

“As soon as we get out (of the vehicle), as soon as he steps out, bam! — an IED (improvised explosive device) goes off I want to say 30, 40 feet away,” said Gunnery Sgt. Jose Soto, 34, Tsue’s team leader.

The bomb blast left a “good crater in the road,” but none of the 7th Engineer Support Battalion Marines out of Camp Pendleton, Calif., was hurt.

“So he (Tsue) looked at me, and I looked at him,” Soto said. “He just shook it off like nothing and went right back to work.”

Roadside bombs defined Tsue’s two-month tour of duty in Iraq, west of Baghdad in the restive Sunni Triangle city of Ramadi.

Daniel Tsue
Daniel Tsue

The 27-year-old explosive ordnance disposal technician worked daily to identify and defuse IEDs, primarily using robotic devices. Soto estimated that his team, Tsue included, neutralized more than 30. On Nov. 1, a secondary roadside bomb killed Tsue as he worked on another nearby.

Tsue, a 1996 Kahuku High School graduate, is the second Marine and seventh service member to be killed in Iraq or Afghanistan and interred at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl. More than 73 service members with Hawai’i ties have been killed in Iraq or Afghanistan.

October was the fourth deadliest month of the war, with at least 95 U.S. service members killed. Twenty have died this month from roadside bombs.

Yesterday, those statistics were measured in personal loss and awful finality for family and friends as a small bronze-colored box containing Tsue’s ashes and adorned with the Marine Corps eagle, globe and anchor logo was placed in the columbarium at Punchbowl.

Tsue’s father, Richard, and his wife, Jennie; mother, Deborah Takemoto; brother and sister Alexander and Joy Takemoto; and grandmother Marian Tsue sat stiffly on folding chairs in a tree-shaded gazebo as white-gloved Marines unfurled an American flag and re-folded it for presentation, along with a duplicate flag, to Tsue’s parents.

Richard Tsue clasped the small box with his son’s Purple Heart in both hands as taps was bugled and seven Marines fired a 21-gun salute. The orders for Tsue’s posthumous promotion to staff sergeant were read, and Chaplain Daniel Whitaker, a Navy lieutenant, recited taps: “Day is done, gone the sun; From the lake, from the hills, from the sky. All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.”

Several dozen family members and friends attended Tsue’s burial. The Marine Corps had said the family did not wish to be contacted by the media during its time of grief.

Branden Nishikawa, 28, came in from Maui and was one of a group of friends who had known Tsue since grade school.

“We kept in touch with him all the way through,” Nishikawa said.

Tsue sent an e-mail in October “to let me know that everything was OK and he was safe and he was looking forward to coming back to our 10-year reunion next year for our group of friends,” Nishikawa said.

Nishikawa said Tsue had told him he had about six “close encounters” in Iraq, including a near miss when a rocket-propelled grenade was fired at him.

“Right now, I don’t know how to feel. I never experienced anything like this before,” Nishikawa said.

Although Nishikawa has an older brother who served in Iraq in the Air Force, “I never thought that something like this would happen to anybody in our circle of friends. Just the reality of the danger (in Iraq) kinda really kicked in,” Nishikawa said.

Marc Togashi, also from that circle of friends, said Tsue didn’t tell the group he was in Iraq until he was already there. He had enlisted in 1998, and served as an embassy guard in places like Bahrain and Tokyo.

When Tsue told his friends of his plans to enlist, Togashi said, “We were all thinking, ‘What in the world are you doing?’ ”

Togashi remembered Tsue as more of a rascal in his youth in the Moanalua Valley than Marine candidate.

“But it turns out it’s something that he’s passionate about,” Togashi said. “Whatever mission and cause he was on, anything to support the country. It sounds cliche, but it was the … truth with him.”

Soto recalled Tsue’s commitment amid the daily danger.

“We were finding large IEDs, as well as the smaller ones that were just being thrown out hastily,” he said, adding, “the situation in Ramadi is pretty bad. It is an insurgent hotbed. My opinion, and I hate to say this, but they could lay IEDs as they wish.”

Tsue was “very nonchalant” about the roadside bombs, Soto said, noting that his composure was the “right attitude for the job.”

“It was just another day for him, another day at work,” Soto said. “That’s it. (Stuff) blowing up around him — he didn’t care.”

Soto was shot in the upper chest and forearm 10 days before Tsue was killed.

“Tsue was the kind of guy who did the right thing because it was the right thing to do,” he said. “Bottom line: He didn’t care if anybody was watching … he was a good man.”


Friends learn Marine saved hundreds

The staff sergeant disarmed explosives before being killed by one in Iraq

Source: Diana Leone, Star Bulletin 

DURING his short time in Iraq, Marine Staff Sgt. Daniel A. Tsue’s work saved the lives of hundreds of people, friends and family heard at his funeral yesterday.

As a member of the elite Marine Corps Explosive Ordnance Disposal team, Tsue’s job was to disarm explosives or get them away from their intended targets.

Tsue handled 63 ordnance disposals in Iraq, and “probably saved over 200 Marines and soldiers’ lives over there, just by his actions alone,” said Tsue’s company commander, Capt. Lawrence Goshen.

“He did his duty and he did it extremely well,” Goshen said of the 27-year-old Moanalua Valley native and 1996 Kahuku High School graduate. “He was great at what he did. He will ever be in his Marines’ hearts and minds until the day we die.”

Tsue, who was serving with the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force from Camp Pendleton, Calif., was killed by a homemade bomb on Nov. 1 near Ar Ramadi, about 70 miles west of Baghdad.

His death brought the total to 72 people with island ties who have died in Iraq since the war began in 2003.

UNTIL RECENTLY, childhood friends Marc Togashi and Branden Nishikawa thought that Tsue was working in the U.S. Embassy in Japan, they said yesterday after the service at Borthwick Mortuary.

“About a month ago, he called me out of the blue and said he was stationed in a dangerous area of Iraq,” Nishikawa said. “I said, ‘Keep yourself safe. Don’t take any chances. Don’t be a hero.'”

Togashi and Nishikawa said they wouldn’t have guessed back in elementary and intermediate school that Tsue would grow up to be a Marine. But they agreed that he had always been smart.

“Very smart,” said Nishikawa.

“He was always trying to learn something,” Togashi said.

Joan Murata, Tsue’s aunt, recalled in her eulogy that, “At an early age, he delighted his grandfather by solving math equations in his head quicker than it could be written out.”

‘He will ever be in his Marines’ hearts and minds until the day we die’

After Tsue “aced” his college entrance exam, Murata said, the Marine Corps recruited him, and after just one semester at the University of Hawaii-Hilo, he accepted.

She read from a recent e-mail from her nephew in which he wrote: “I’m planning on doing a consecutive tour out here. So, I’ll be here for another year or so. I figure since I’m single, I may as well stay out here and save some married guy from having to leave his family for six months.”

That’s the kind of person Tsue was, agreed Gunnery Sgt. Jose Soto, Tsue’s team leader in Iraq. “He was genuinely a good person, one of those people who did the right thing.”

While Tsue “had a relaxed, hair-down attitude about things,” he was superb at his job. One of Tsue’s habits after a mission was to “take off his boots and put on his flip-flops (slippers),” Soto said in an interview. “He always brought a piece of Hawaii with him.”

SOTO GOT chuckles from funeral attendees when he told them that in his off hours, Tsue was on a mission to improve his fellow Marines’ poker game.

“He never took our money,” Soto said later. “That would be like taking candy from a baby.”

Tsue’s half-sister, Joy Takemoto, was choked with emotion as she described how grateful she was to have visited with him in June after not having seen him for 6 1/2 years.

“What little time we had was perfect. He was just such an awesome brother,” she said.

As a Marine, Tsue served his fellow man, and in so doing served God as well, Marine Chaplain Daniel Whitaker said.

Tsue was awarded a Purple Heart and promoted posthumously from sergeant to staff sergeant.

Other survivors include his father, Richard; mother Deborah Takemoto; half-brother Alexander Takemoto; and grandmother Marian Tsue.

His ashes will be inurned at 1 p.m. tomorrow at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl.


The members of Landstuhl Hospital Care Project were honored to remember Daniel during the month of April 2009 with our shipments to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, and U.S. military hospitals in the Middle East. Our thoughts and prayers remain with Daniel’s family and friends today and in the years to come.

Vocera Supports Wounded Troops

Vocera Supports Wounded Troops through the Landstuhl Hospital Care Project

Vocera contribution will support combat wounded veterans

Vocera
Vocera.inc

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Vocera, Inc., has made a financial contribution to the Landstuhl Hospital Care Project (LHCP) to provide comfort and relief items for military personnel who become sick, injured, or wounded from service in Iraq, Kuwait, and Afghanistan. LHCP collects and distributes personal and care items to military patients, men and women of the armed forces, at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center and to field hospitals with additional needs.

“The contribution from Vocera will allow us to provide additional comfort items to wounded personnel at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (LRMC) in Germany, the largest American military hospital outside the United States and to field hospitals in Afghanistan and Iraq, within minutes of their injury and arrival at a military Med Station,” said Karen Grimord, founder of the Landstuhl Hospital Care Project. “Donations allow LHCP to bring a touch of home and love to patients cared for far from our borders.”

Each LHCP shipment is sent in honor of a military member who has made the ultimate sacrifice and lost his or her life in service to our country. Hospital staff report that when patients learn that they and their fallen service members are remembered “back home,” spirits are lifted.

“Vocera is humbled by the commitment of the troops that serve our country,” said Bob Zollars, Chairman and CEO of Vocera Communications. “Several of Vocera’s staff members have had the privilege to work as technology consultants at Landstuhl. We have seen first hand the spirit and dedication of the VA staff and the patients they care for.”

The Landstuhl Hospital Care Project (LHCP) is a non-profit organization. Donations to LRMC are done through the Wounded Warrior Ministry Center. This allows all in-patients, out-patients, LRMC liaisons, LRMC nurses and medical escorts access to supplies. The purpose of the program is to enhance the morale and welfare for troops and veterans by contributing quality-of-life items.

About Vocera

Vocera Inc. provides wireless communication systems enabling instant voice communication among mobile workers for leading institutions and companies requiring enhanced customer service, productivity, and teamwork.. The AHA Solutions division of the American Hospital Association has endorsed the Vocera communications system for instant voice communication in healthcare. The system is installed in over 600 hospitals around the world. The company, based in San Jose, Calif., sells to customers in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.”

Thank you to Vocera Communications and its employees. At a time when philanthropic giving is threatened by bottom lines, it is uplifting to see that some companies are still able to reach out and help where there is a need.

 

Heathe Craig

Heathe Craig—March 2009 Shipment Honoree

Army Staff Sgt. Heathe N. Craig

Heathe Craig
Heathe Craig

28, of Severn, Md.; assigned to 159th Air Ambulance Medical Company, Wiesbaden, Germany; died June 21 when his UH-60 helicopter hoist malfunctioned while attempting to evacuate Pfc. Brian J. Bradbury during combat operations in the vicinity of Naray, Afghanistan. Also killed was Pfc. Brian J. Bradbury.

Source: Military Times

Remember Our Heroes

Staff Sgt. Heathe N. Craig, 28, of Severn, Md., died when his UH-60 helicopter hoist malfunctioned while attempting to evacuate Pfc. Bradbury during combat operations. Craig was assigned to the 159th Air Ambulance Medical Company, Wiesbaden, Germany. Died on June 21 in Naray, Afghanistan.

By Martin Weil
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, June 24, 2006; Page A17

A high school wrestling teammate remembered Heathe Craig as someone who was constantly ready with a helping hand.

Craig, 28, an Army staff sergeant, was offering that helping hand in Afghanistan on Wednesday when, according to the Pentagon, something went wrong with his evacuation helicopter and he was killed.

Craig grew up in Mechanicsville, Va., near Richmond, and was one of the better wrestlers in his area while a student at Mechanicsville’s Lee-Davis High School.

“He was a great wrestler, great guy,” said teammate Ryan Miles. “A good friend, and a good teammate” who was “always there to support anybody who needed it.”

In his junior year, Craig was 16-6 in the 119-pound class.

He had wanted to fly helicopters since he joined the Army and was close to qualifying as a pilot, his grandfather Daniel Sloan said last night. “He was happy at his work, and he enjoyed it,” he said.

The Pentagon said that another soldier, Pfc. Brian J. Bradbury, 22, of St. Joseph, Mo., was in combat near Naray, Afghanistan, and died after encountering enemy small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades.

Craig, who listed his home town as Severn, according to the Pentagon, died “when his UH-60 helicopter hoist malfunctioned” while attempting to evacuate Bradbury.

Craig was assigned to the 159th Air Ambulance Medical Company, based in Wiesbaden, Germany.

Craig was married and lived in Germany, his grandfather said. He and his wife, Judith, had a son and a daughter.

Survivors include his mother and father and a brother, according to the grandfather.


“He grew up,” his grandfather said last night, “to be a man. That’s all I can say.”

By MELANIE STREETER, The Times Herald
06/24/2006

 Army Sgt. Heathe Craig, 28, a native of Knapp Creek, died Wednesday in Naray, Afghanistan, when his UH-60 helicopter hoist malfunctioned while attempting to evacuate a fellow soldier during combat operations.

His family moved from Knapp Creek to Virginia in 1988, and he graduated from Lee Davis High School in Mechanicsville, Va., in 1997.

Sgt. Craig was assigned to the 159th Air Ambulance Medical Company, based in Wiesbaden, Germany. He was the son of Jeffery Craig of Shinglehouse, Pa., and Donna Sloan, of Eldred, Pa. His wife, Judith, lives in Germany with their two children, ages 5 and 1.

“He was a very good kid,” said his stepmother, Sheila Craig. “He was always wanting to help people. Before he joined the service, he wanted to be a kindergarten teacher.”

She recalled an incident that happened at his graduation from Army training in Oklahoma.

“My daughter was 5 years old at the time, and she fell on a cactus,” Mrs. Craig said. “He was right there to take care of her.”

Sgt. Craig was evacuating Pfc. Brian J. Bradbury, 22, of Saint Joseph, Mo., who was injured when he encountered enemy forces using small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades during combat operations, according to a press release from the Department of Defense.

“He didn’t go into this war to fight,” his stepmother said. “He did it to help people.”

She said he loved his job enough to re-enlist with the Army following his first term.

“He loved to help people and care for the suffering,” she said. “He was very unselfish.”

Mrs. Craig said his immediate family will travel to Germany for funeral services, as Sgt. Craig’s wife is a native German.

Army Staff Sgt Heathe Craig was killed 06/21/06.

Source: Legacy


The members of Landstuhl Hospital Care Project were honored to remember Heathe Craig during the month of March 2009 with our shipments to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, and U.S. military hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Our thoughts and prayers remain with Heathe’s family and friends today and in the years to come.

Garrett Knoll

Garrett C. Knoll—February 2009 Shipment Honoree

Michigan soldier killed in Iraq was athletic, popular

Sources: The Associated Press, Military Times

VERONA TOWNSHIP, Mich. — A 23-year-old Army medic from Michigan’s Thumb who was killed in Iraq attended a rural one-room school through eighth grade but jumped right into the social whirl and sports scene at Bad Axe High School, his former principal says.

Garrett Knoll
Garrett Knoll

Garrett Knoll of Huron County’s Verona Township was killed when a truck bomb exploded next to his patrol base near Baghdad, grandmother Ruth Knoll told WLEW-AM in Bad Axe.

Nine members of the 82nd Airborne Division were killed and 20 were wounded April 23. It was the single greatest loss of life for American ground forces in Iraq since Dec. 1, 2005, when a roadside bomb killed 10 Marines and wounded 11 in an abandoned building near Fallujah.

The soldiers were members of the 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, at Fort Bragg, N.C. A civilian interpreter also was wounded.

Knoll, a 2001 graduate of Bad Axe High, lived with his grandparents near Verona, about 100 miles north of Detroit. He had been serving as a medic in Iraq for two months.

Ruth Knoll said military officials notified her April 24. The Pentagon had not yet announced his death by midmorning April 25.

Knoll attended the one-room Verona Mills school from kindergarten through eighth grade, said Bad Axe High Principal Wayne Brady.

Knoll “fit right in” when he moved on to the high school, Brady told The Saginaw News. The freshman joined the cross country, track and wrestling teams.

“He was a happy-go-lucky kid,” Brady said. “He was very friendly. One thing I remember is his sense of humor. He was very sharp, very witty. And he had a nice circle of friends.”

Lee Kahler, Knoll’s track and cross country coach and his biology teacher, described him as “happy, joyful, enthusiastic, eager, always adventuresome.”

“He was a guy who was always full of energy,” Kahler told the Huron Daily Tribune of Bad Axe. “He was a really neat kid.”

“Our thoughts and sympathies go out to his family, and we will honor his, and their, sacrifice,” said Bad Axe Mayor Herbert Williams. “As a community, we will do whatever we can to help them heal.”


Army Pfc. Garrett C. Knoll

Remember Our Heroes

Army Pfc. Garrett C. Knoll, 23, of Bad Axe, Mich.

Pfc. Knoll was assigned to the 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.; died April 23 in Sadah, Iraq, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his location. Also killed were Spc. Michael J. Rodriguez, Spc. Jerry R. King, Sgt. Michael L. Vaughan, Sgt. Brice A. Pearson, Sgt. Randell T. Marshall, 1st Lt. Kevin J. Gaspers, Staff Sgt. Kenneth E. Locker Jr. and Staff Sgt. William C. Moore.


Michigan soldier killed in Iraq was athletic, popular

The Associated Press

 VERONA TOWNSHIP, Mich. — A 23-year-old Army medic from Michigan’s Thumb who was killed in Iraq attended a rural one-room school through eighth grade but jumped right into the social whirl and sports scene at Bad Axe High School, his former principal says.

Garrett C. Knoll
Garrett C. Knoll

Garrett Knoll of Huron County’s Verona Township was killed when a truck bomb exploded next to his patrol base near Baghdad, grandmother Ruth Knoll told WLEW-AM in Bad Axe.

Nine members of the 82nd Airborne Division were killed and 20 were wounded April 23. It was the single greatest loss of life for American ground forces in Iraq since Dec. 1, 2005, when a roadside bomb killed 10 Marines and wounded 11 in an abandoned building near Fallujah.

The soldiers were members of the 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, at Fort Bragg, N.C. A civilian interpreter also was wounded.

Knoll, a 2001 graduate of Bad Axe High, lived with his grandparents near Verona, about 100 miles north of Detroit. He had been serving as a medic in Iraq for two months.

Ruth Knoll said military officials notified her April 24. The Pentagon had not yet announced his death by midmorning April 25.

Knoll attended the one-room Verona Mills school from kindergarten through eighth grade, said Bad Axe High Principal Wayne Brady.

Knoll “fit right in” when he moved on to the high school, Brady told The Saginaw News. The freshman joined the cross country, track and wrestling teams.

“He was a happy-go-lucky kid,” Brady said. “He was very friendly. One thing I remember is his sense of humor. He was very sharp, very witty. And he had a nice circle of friends.”

Lee Kahler, Knoll’s track and cross country coach and his biology teacher, described him as “happy, joyful, enthusiastic, eager, always adventuresome.”

“He was a guy who was always full of energy,” Kahler told the Huron Daily Tribune of Bad Axe. “He was a really neat kid.”

“Our thoughts and sympathies go out to his family, and we will honor his, and their, sacrifice,” said Bad Axe Mayor Herbert Williams. “As a community, we will do whatever we can to help them heal.”

Army Pfc. Garrett C. Knoll was killed in action on 4/23/07.

Source: Military Times


The members of Landstuhl Hospital Care Project were honored to remember Garrett during the month of February 2009 with our shipments to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, and U.S. military hospitals in the Middle East.  Our thoughts and prayers remain with Garrett’s family and friends today and in the years to come.

Dustin Burnett

Dustin Burnett—January  2009 Shipment Honoree

Dustin K. Burnett
Dustin K. Burnett

I had a chance to meet Dustin’s family at the Soldier Down fund raising event in October.  His mother, Debbie Nuchols, told me the story of finding an assignment a couple weeks after learning that he had given the ultimate sacrifice he did when he was younger.  The assignment was to give a description of themselves as a saint and it included a drawing that Dustin did that is nearly identical to his photo as a Navy Corpsman taken this year.  To the Marines life Dustin save a week before his death he was a saint.

Jim Spliedt LHCP Vice President


Bomb kills Navy medic from Ariz. in Afghanistan

by John Faherty – Jun. 24, 2008 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic
Dustin Burnett
Dustin Burnett

Debbie Nuchols opened the door at 10:30 last Friday night and knew.

“Two guys in dress whites and a Navy chaplain,” she said. “You know what they are there for. No doubt.”

They were there to tell the Fort Mohave woman that her son, 19-year-old Dustin Burnett, was dead.

On Friday, June 20, Burnett, was a passenger in a vehicle in the Farah province of central-western Afghanistan when a roadside bomb exploded and killed him.

He graduated from Mohave High School in 2007, joined the Navy and went off to war in Afghanistan.

When young men and young women from this part of far-western Arizona join the military, people come together for a send-off rally at the American Legion Post in Bullhead City.

“It’s a tradition here,” said Jack Hakim, the mayor of Bullhead City. “I present our fighting men with a key to the city, and I tell them the city is with them all the way. Let’s them know we will remember them.”

Nuchols remembers her son’s speech like it was yesterday.

“He said he wanted to fight for our freedoms. But more than that, he wanted to give the people over there the same freedoms he had.”

Dustin Burnett's Family
Dustin Burnett’s Family

Nuchols was so proud of her son after the send-off rally that she told anybody who would listen that her son “could grow up and be president someday.”

The send-off rally was March 23.

He was sent to Afghanistan on April 1.

Burnett was in the landlocked country because he was a hospitalman attached to a Marine division. A hospitalman is a medic.

“Everybody over there called him Doc,” Nuchols said. “He loved the idea that he would be taking care of people.”

Burnett played football for the Fort Mohave Thunderbirds for four years.

His cousin remembers him as a happy and energetic young man.

“He was always smiling,” said Rachel Nuchols. “I can’t really picture him any way except full of life.”

Rachel said her cousin wanted to go to college when he got home from the Navy.

He leaves behind his mother and stepfather. And a little brother, 13-year-old Devin.

In the past school year, Devin was given an assignment to write about his hero. He wrote about his older brother.

The flags in Bullhead City are flying at half-staff today.

Burnett’s death marks the 121st member of the military with Arizona ties to die in Afghanistan or Iraq.


CORPSMAN DUSTIN K. BURNETT Who was 19 years old was killed by a roadside bomb Friday June 20th in Afghanistan fighting for our freedoms in Operation Enduring Freedom. Dustin was born at Parkview Hospital in Riverside, CA 08/17/1988. He moved to Bullhead City, Arizona his Freshman year of High School but attended Chemawa Jr. High in Riverside, CA. Dustin is survived by his father and mother, Donald and Debra Nuchols and his brother, Devin Nuchols, all of Fort Mohave, Arizona; his grandmother, Kathy Burnett of Riverside, CA. Too often people forget the countless brave that have given the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy every day. He was a true Patriot the following is a quote from Dustin at age 14 “I will uphold freedoms to people who have none, I seek out those who wish to bring hate and terror to our Country and I want to be a soldier not only of America but of God.” We love you Dustin you were both to us all!! “Only the dead have seen the end of war.” -Plato Following is his service schedule. Friday, 4 JULY 2008 – Full Military Honors / Funeral Honor Detail ** Dress Whites with Ribbons 10:00 AM — Burial at Riverside National Cemetery, Riverside, California – Honor Guard Provided by NOSC Moreno Valley – Chaplain (LCDR) Robert Spencer, CHC, USN, NAS North Island – Flag Presenter: RDML Donald Gintzig, MSC, USN (Vice Commander, Navy Reserve Forces Command and Deputy Commander, Navy Medicine East) Riverside National Cemetery — (951) 653-8417 22495 Van Buren Boulevard Riverside, CA 92518 Reception after word at St. Catherines Church 7050 Brockton Avenue Riverside, CA 951-781-9855 In Lieu of Flowers we are asking that donations be made to Military Moms who use the funds to send packages to deployed troops. Make Checks to Cindy Frizelle on the Memo please write Military Moms for Dustin Burnett they can be mailed to 1943 Clubhouse Plz.Fort Mohave, AZ 86426 You can also e-mail her inspirational stories about Dustin to capitalprocessor@yahoo.com Desert Lawn Funeral Home 9250 S. Ranchero Lane Mohave Valley, AZ 86440  PE.com


The members of Landstuhl Hospital Care Project were honored to remember Dustin during the month of January 2009 with our shipments to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, and U.S. military hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Our thoughts and prayers remain with Grant’s family and friends today and in the years to come.