The Corner

Helping Wounded Iraq-War Vets

From Fayettville Observer (NC):

Hurt Troops Need Clothes, Toiletries

By Justin Willett, Staff writer

LANDSTUHL, Germany – When wounded troops arrive at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center they often are wearing the same clothes they were wearing when they were injured; usually a dirty desert camouflage uniform, sometimes just a pair of boxer shorts.

The troops receive a $250 voucher from the Department of Defense.

But they are often unable to make it to the nearest Army and Air Force Exchange Services store at Ramstein Air Base for clothes or toiletries.

That’s where Landstuhl’s Pastoral Services Department comes in.

Pastoral services runs the Chaplain’s Closet, a tiny building packed full of donated clothes, toiletries, books, movies and other personal items.

Lt. Col. Robert Hicks is a chaplain with the Alabama Air Guard. He works with Army, Marine, Navy and Air Force chaplains on getting the troops what they need.

This weekend, volunteers delivered wheelchairs full of items to hundreds of troops who arrived from Fallujah in the past week.

Senior Airman Karly Vogel, who is in the Minnesota Air Guard and is a chaplain’s assistant at Landstuhl said the biggest need right now is large and extra-large sweatpants and shirts for Germany’s cold weather.

“We rely on donations.” she said. “There’s so many troops that come through here, we have to work quick to get them what they need.”

Col. Eric Holmstrom is an Army reservist who was activated for one year and made chief of pastoral services at Landstuhl.

He said the hospital is a good place to minister, but there are always needs.

“We always have patients,” he said. “And we always have a need.”

Holmstrom said men’s shoes sizes nine to 12 are in high demand as is cash.

Pastoral services only accepts new items. Ongoing needs at the Chaplain’s Closet include: men’s shoes sizes nine to 12, women’s shoes size six to nine, men’s and women’s winter coats sizes medium through extra-large, and backpacks, gym bags and small suitcases.

Further details here


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