Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Things That Angels Do

As I am still working on the over all design of this site and my personal blog, personal observations are slow so I am going to point you to others that write about what Angels do to support the troops.

Listen, around 4 minutes in, this is the panel at the Milblog Conference 2007: Support - More Than Just a Bumper Sticker

Soldiers' Angels in Kansas City just sent over 10 boxes of clothes and hygiene items to Landstuhl for our wounded troops and the closet that MaryAnn talks about in the video.

The first recipient of a Project VALOUR IT voice activated laptop for our injured troops talks about his experience with Soldiers' Angels:

The long and short of it is, Chuck wrote a blog from Iraq. One day while on patrol, Capt. Chuck Ziegenfuss (now "major") was blown up by an IED. His wife got the keys to his blog and wrote a message that he was injured and she would say more later. Soldiers' Angels was there when he arrived in Germany and then again at Walter Reed. Many comments were posted at his website from supporters and general readers (including me) praying for his recovery, giving pep speeches, talking with his wife and generally, just being there.

His wife posted what soon became regular updates on Chuck's recovery. She read him the comments from the blog, even when he was unconscious. She believes, even today, that this connection helped keep Chuck's spirits up even through the worst parts of recovery and rehab. She also used the computer to keep in touch with family who were taking care of the kids and those that could not come to be with Chuck or stay throughout his recover.

Soon, Chuck was able to stay awake long enough to want to get back to using the computer. He wanted to email the men he had left in Iraq, keeping in touch with them and following the situation. They were his men after all and he felt he had left them. He also felt disconnected from the people and organization that had become his family. He wanted to write in his blog and talk to all the people who had supported him.

Just a few problems: Chuck had severe soft tissue damage to his hands and arms. He would need many months (almost two years now) of surgery and rehabilitation. In the meantime, he could not use a conventional keyboard to type on the computer. Soldiers' Angels arranged to have a laptop donated to him with voice activated software. Chuck wrote his first post with it shortly after and his readers responded with more encouragement.

Then one day, one of the readers, Beth from Fuzzilicious, suggested that this experience could be and should be repeated for the many more injured with amputations and wounds such as Chuck suffered.

The rest, as they say, is history. Soldiers' Angels delivered its 1000th laptop on May 6th at Walter Reed where it all began.

Solders' Angel from New York writes about this presentation and event: Sunday at Walter Reed

There are so many angels doing great work with visiting our wounded and doing whatever they can to provide whatever aid and comfort. But I never saw myself in that role, in fact I felt very uncomfortable at the thought. At one point during the weekend prior to this visit I said to MaryAnn, "I don't think I could do what you do." She reassured me that I could. But I was still apprehensive about going to Walter Reed. Why? Well, I guess because I felt I would be uncomfortable there, that I would say the wrong thing, or more importantly make them feel uncomfortable. I felt that it was better that I don't go at all rather than go and perhaps do or say the wrong thing. Everybody has their own interests and giftings and I didn't think visiting the wounded was one of mine.

Soldiers' Angels Holly Aho was also there. She talks about other things that Soldiers' Angels does for our troops.

Let me give you an example. While at Walter Reed this past Sunday for the BBQ Soldiers' Angels threw for our wounded soldiers there, one soldier refused to leave his room and join the party. Crying in his room, he refused to come down. Patti found out about this soldier and immediately called his room. Speaking in mono-syllables he wasn't very chatty, despite Patti's attempts to cheer him up and coax him down to the BBQ. Finally Patti asked him, "What can I do to put a smile on your face?" He replied that he missed his wife. Fast forward about 20 minutes and the soldier is down at the BBQ, laughing and smiling, having a great time, knowing that he and his wife will be spending 3 days together in a hotel shortly - tickets and hotel paid for already.

Sometimes need doesn't fit nicely in a box, sometimes emergencies don't come planned in advance (really!), sometimes waiting for aid approval just isn't good enough. I know as we give to a charity or special cause we the donors would like a neat list of where our money is going - who exactly will it benefit? And charities move to meet that requirement, creating specific criteria for help, often becoming too stringent with the rules for beneficiaries. What then, for loneliness? What then, for those unable to speak? What then, for those unable to find the courage to ask for help?


Helps Soldiers' Angels support our troops, one laptop, one letter, one visit, one smile at a time.

- May no soldier go unloved