Jim Spliedt, Vice President
Saturday, March 27, 2010
I was privileged to have been asked to go on the Chaplain’s Office Saturday excursion with the wounded from the LRMC for a tour of Mainz, Germany. When we arrived in Mainz, we made our way to Cathedral Square, where about half the group went to the Gutenberg Museum and the other half to the Cathedral for tours. We had a chance to spend about 40 minutes in the museum before going to our assembly point for lunch. I walked with one of the Chaplains in the back, making sure everyone was accounted for. At lunch, I sat and talked with service members from Texas, California, Wisconsin, and Washington. What was funny was the look on their faces when I brought up a few personal details on two of them, until they recognized me as the “guy” from the Clothing Closet.
After lunch, I walked with a small group around downtown Mainz. There was a little rain during the afternoon and I was glad I bought an extra umbrella and raincoat to hand out. One of the favorite shops the group went in was the “Everything is 1 Euro,” or the European equivalent of the “Everything is a Dollar” store in the United States. Everyone walked up and down the aisles, joking and seeing what 1 Euro would buy. One of the nice ladies with us wanted to visit a shoe store, so the gentlemen politely waited near the store door and we talked about our families and what souvenirs we were going to buy for our children. We eventually stopped at a small café and ordered mega-calorie desserts and hot chocolates. Another small group joined us, and as I was sitting there with my slice of cake, I enjoyed watching our service men and women just making small talk with these big smiles on their faces. They all told me how much they appreciated getting away from the hospital even for a little while to just be tourists. To get the chance to sit outside a café, even with the cool rainy weather, and watch the world go by was very special to them and I was grateful to have had the chance to share the experience.
This is my last blog, since tomorrow I start packing for my flight back home to Idaho. I didn’t know what to expect before I came to work at Landstuhl, but it has turned out to be a unique week-long personal journey for me. I met more outstanding individuals, both as patients and support staff, then I can count; and made a few new friends. And to all our Wounded Warriors – Semper Fidelis.