24 April 2006

The Milkshake Man and the Invitation

Yesterday at Walter Reed while I was sitting in a young Soldier's room chatting with his Mom, the door suddenly opened. A man came in and asked, "want a milkshake?"

The Soldier's Mom took the milkshake and before she could thank him, he handed her an invitation for 'a Friday night dinner' and was gone.

When the door closed behind him I turned to the Mom and said, "OMG, that was the 'Milkshake Man'!"

This story started on 28 March near Taquaddum, Iraq when a Humvee was hit by an IED blast. The occupants were medevac'd to Landstuhl where we caught up with them (scroll down). One of the vehicle occupants and the driver were together in the same room and they asked us to track down two others.

Returning the next day, we reported we had found one of their buddies in the ICU but were unable to locate the fourth Soldier.

As we left, I mentioned I would be in DC for the Milblog conference later in the month and expected them to be in 'much better shape' when I next saw them at Walter Reed.

The Humvee driver is already home and the two soldiers at Reed have a long road ahead of them but are doing well. I learned yesterday that the fourth Soldier had been killed in the incident.

Meanwhile, back at Walter Reed, I told the Soldier's Mom about the Milkshake Man and the Friday Night Dinners at Fran O'Brien's.

The invitation the Soldier received included a caveat about the location for upcoming dinners and the search for a new venue.

Will this Soldier be able to attend the dinners when he's well enough? We need your help to make sure they continue, so head over to Andi's and find out what you can do.

The most meaningful part of my trip to DC was the contact with patients who are 6, 8, or 9 months along the path to recovery. Our experience with severely injured patients in Germany is that of never-ending triage and stabilization. To see how these guys 'come back' is nothing short of miraculous.

The stories of the guys I know personally will remain personal, but I'll tell you a little bit about Friday at Fran's in a later post.

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