By Chrystal Smith and Karl Weisel (IMCOM)December 17, 2013
WIESBADEN, Germany - Wiesbaden military community Soldiers and civilians helped brighten up the holidays for patients in U.S. and German hospitals in December.
Members of Army Community Service and the Wiesbaden Outreach Kontakt Club gathered Soldiers and toys and made a special visit to the Horst-Schmidt-Kliniken to bring some holiday cheer to young patients for St. Nikolaustag Dec. 6.
For regular volunteers such as Sgt. Benjamin Ashmead, 529th Military Police Company, the visit seemed like a simple act of kindness, "but then you actually get here and you see the look on their faces and it brightens their holiday," he said.
The event, orchestrated by Wiesbaden Outreach Kontakt Club, served as an outreach effort to link the military community volunteers to one of the city's major medical facilities as a show of friendship.
"We hope to do more of these types of visits," said Earl McFarland, ACS volunteer coordinator, adding that the Wiesbaden Outreach Kontakt Club was instrumental in connecting the community with the clinic and other host nation activities to facilitate occasions for volunteering.
Wiesbaden's Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers collected several bags and boxes of new toys through a Toys for Tots drive among area units and organizations before heading to the Mainz University Hospital to raise smiles on the faces of children in the cancer ward.
"This is something we do every year," said BOSS adviser Stevan Eclavea. "We also travel to Landstuhl to visit wounded warriors recovering at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center."
It was hard to tell who was smiling more, the visiting U.S. Soldiers, or the parents, patients and staff at the Mainz hospital as BOSS members made their way from room to room in the children's cancer clinic. As doors were opened, youngsters beamed to see the uniformed men and women -- some wearing Santa hats -- bearing toys, candy and cards.
"It helps brighten the holidays and makes us feel great," said Eclavea, after the Mainz visit -- looking forward to the next visit to Landstuhl in the following days.
For more information on the German-American friendship club Outreach-Kontakt, stop by the office in Hainerberg Housing at Texasstrasse 31 (open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Wednesdays from 3:30-6:30 p.m. and every first and third Saturday of the month from 1-5 p.m.) or visit www.outreach-wiesbaden.com
To get involved with Wiesbaden BOSS, stop by the Warrior Zone on Clay Kaserne or call civ (0611) 705-5042.