This morning started with refilling shelves at the CCC. As I was heading to lunch I walked into some troops with that “lost” look on their face. I asked them if I could help them find something. Yes, they were looking for the CCC. I told them to follow me and I went back to the CCC to help them. As we walked the hall one of them explained that they were Georgia troops. Not the Georgia north of Florida and south of Tennessee but the Georgia that is North of Turkey and South of Russia. Georgia covers a territory smaller than South Carolina and slightly larger than West Virginia, with approximately 4.5 million residents. If I understand what I have been told in the past from Georgian troops, Georgia is the largest non-Nato contributor to the Afghanistan mission. I have never met a Georgian patient that spoke English. There is a Georgian translator here to help the Georgia patients. I first introduced myself to the Georgian wheel chair patient and then to the other 3 Georgian troops. I asked the translator to explain everything to the patients. I gave a very short explanation of the CCC and then went about filling the duffel bag for the patient in the wheel chair. He had a trach in and was having some difficulties. As we moved around the CCC I noticed he had a very large round scar on his chest. When they are sitting in front of you in a hospital gown I don’t look at them as US troop, Canadian troop or Georgia troop. I look at them as someone’s son or daughter and this one had at one time a massive blast to his chest. As we moved around the CCC he was amazed at the items available for free. He was hesitate to take items but I explain that some little old grandma sent these items for him and once the interrupter told them what I said they smiled and took a pillow from Judy in Michigan and a blanket from a LHCP church group in Arizona. As they were leaving, the patient reached up to shake my hand. He had a little bit of a problem reaching out to my hand so I bent down and forward to him and told him THANK YOU and it was my pleasure to help him. I also told him (through the translator) that if he needed any more help to come back. That he did not need the translator with him that he and I would figure out what he needed. He may have been very thin and weak but he made sure he shook my hand with a firm grip.
Saturday we had a patient trip. We had approximately 17 patients. LHCP is paying for the lunch these wounded warriors eat at a local German restaurant, thanks in part to Callie in North Carolina. As they all sat down at their tables one of the chaplain staff explained to them where they were at and what the building was. It was also explained that LHCP was paying for their lunch. They were asked to show by hand how many had been to the CCC. 75% raised their hands. They were then told that 95% of the items in the CCC was donated by LHCP. As their lunch was being placed in front of them I was introduced to them. I did not stand or speak as we are not there to be in their face. We are here to have their backs. However, as each of them left the restaurant they came by to thank LHCP for their “day away” from the life at the hospital. As one of them left, he thanked me. I told him it was “our pleasure”. His battle buddy turned back around to face me and he said “ma’am you have no idea what this means to us”.
Today was a rather busy day it reminded me of the times in 2006 and 2007 when it was routine for 14 to 20 wounded to come in to the CCC for help at one time. It still amazes me after all these years that the patients are amazed at the support that is provided by us at home. I am very proud and honored to be part of LHCP. Every pillow except one that was taken today was a LHCP pillow. Approximately 50% of the quilts and fleece blankets that were taken today were made by LHCP members. Every duffel bag that is taken is due to LHCP monetary donors. 90% of the zip-up hoodies and winter jackets are again from LHCP donors.
The CCC has some items that they will just never run out of due to the quantity that has been sent here over the years such as socks, shaving cream, under shirts, just to name a few of the items. There are needs that seem to always be on their wish list and I hope that I can turn to you to help us collect these items. We are in need of toe nail clippers, black shorts in all sizes and travel size mouth wash.