By Chuck Roberts, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center Public AffairsDecember 7, 2007
LANDSTUHL REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER, Germany (Dec. 7, 2007) - A strong and steady wave of donations are arriving daily at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.
The wave of gifts and cards will usually crest toward the end of December, but chaplains, their assistants and a dedicated core of volunteers will be kept busy until January spreading the holiday cheer earmarked for LRMC patients arriving from downrange, said Chaplain (Col.) James Griffith, director of the Clinical Pastoral Division.
His staff is keeping busy contending with three daily mail deliveries that has tripled to more than 120 boxes from individuals, corporations, churches and charitable organizations.
Donated items range across the board, said Griffith, and include Christmas cards, candy, cookies as well as items received throughout the year such as CDs, DVDs, phone cards, quilts, sweat pants, athletic shoes and duffel bags.
Soon after their arrival, donations are distributed directly to patients in their rooms by military liaisons, chaplains and other staff members. Items also are used to stock the Wounded Warrior Ministry Center, which is accessible 24/7 thanks in part to a staff of 22 volunteers who donate more than 600 hours a month, said Navy Senior Chief Billie Campbell, a religious programs specialist who is in charge of the center. Some of those volunteers travel from the United States specifically to donate their time.
The time and effort toward providing donated items is well received by the Wounded Warriors, said Griffith, noting their reactions often speak for themselves.
"They're very appreciative. Usually it's a charitable version of shock and awe. They can't believe folks have donated all this stuff," said Griffith.
The generosity is also displayed among the Wounded Warriors themselves, said Chaplain (Capt.) Erik Harp. When servicemembers are told they are allowed two of a certain item, they often respond that they would prefer to take only one to ensure there is enough for a fellow Soldier who may need it more than they do.
"I hear that theme over and over again," Harp said. "It's touching."