By Mrs. Monica Wood (TRADOC)December 17, 2009
Several wounded warriors including one who broke his neck and another recovering from back surgery were selected to receive donated laptops, iPods, phone cards and other items.
Two Oklahoma City groups who came to Fort Sill's Soldier and Family Assistance Center Dec. 9 donated the gifts and presented them to the Warrior Transition Unit servicemen and women recovering from injuries and illnesses.
The laptops will be available for all wounded warriors and family members to use in the SFAC.
Debi Bohannan of Oklahoma City and Carol and Robert Hefner of Edmond represented Gathering of Eagles, a group founded by Vietnam veterans to assure that every Soldier, veteran and war memorial is shown proper respect. Representing Blue Star Mothers, Inc. Chapter 6 of Oklahoma City, were Linda Rakett and Carol Farmer. Blue Star Mothers, Inc. is an organization for mothers who have children serving or who have served in the military.
Bohannan said, "This is such an honor and there is no more noble cause."
Navy mom Carol Hefner presented the items in a ceremony at the SFAC. According to Hefner, communication with supportive loved ones has been shown to dramatically enhance the healing process. Laptops for wounded warriors is a response to requests for equipment made by troops recovering from combat related wounds. Webcams enable them to see their spouses and children when they say good night. "Phone cards help with the costs for phone service and iPods permit them to collect and access music based on personal preferences," she said. Hefner said she was designated "Military Mom of the Day," and told the Soldiers at the ceremony that she felt like they were each her child and she was very proud of each of them.
"I just think that you should count this as your leave time, kind of a down time, to collect yourself, because you are being prepared for something new on the other side of this experience, and it's going to be bigger and better. You're being refined," said Hefner.
Brenda Spencer-Ragland, Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation director, gave the visitors a tour of the facility, which provides services for wounded troops and their families, and then treated them to a luncheon for attending visitors, including Oklahoma State Senator Don Barrington, representing the Lawton Fort Sill region.
Gifts donated to the Gathering of Eagles laptops project are a special way to say 'thanks for your sacrifice' from fellow Americans who appreciate those injured while defending freedom, said Bohannan.
The laptops effort began at Walter Reed Army Medical Center Sept. 11 to commemorate the first major terrorist attack on American soil, Sept. 11, 2001, and is extended to all U.S. military medical facilities. It will continue until Sept. 11, 2010.
Tax deductible donations can be made directly to GOE at www.gatheringofeagles.org or to the Bank of Oklahoma 'Laptops' - designated account.