The following is an email sent after our Christmas visit to Landstuhl. Although intended for private distribution it has subsequently been circulated and published in a couple of newspapers, so I thought I'd post it here.
From: MaryAnn Phillips
Date: Dec 30, 2006 10:20 PM
Subject: Shipments to SA Germany & Landstuhl Christmas News
Dear Angels & Friends,
Thank you for your thoughtful and generous donations for our soldiers recovering in Germany!
It's been a very busy month, so I'm taking the liberty of sending a group mail to acknowledge receipt of your shipments. If you have specific questions about your items, please feel free to respond and ask away!
As many of you know, my Dad suffered a stroke on 11 Dec, so I flew to the States for about a week. He's doing much better, and I'd like to thank you all for your well wishes and prayers. I'll be going back within the next couple of days to see him again.
I was at Landstuhl from the 22 - 28 Dec spending time with the patients and distributing donations. Our freight rooms were full of mail from all of you, including cards, baked goods, candy, Christmas decorations, Blankets of Hope, clothing, and much more.
Patients were arriving from Iraq and Afghanistan daily over the holidays. Unfortunately, several of them were severely injured and one died at Landstuhl hospital on Christmas day. We don't lose many patients here, and everyone took it very hard. Each and every loss is difficult to bear, but it hurts just that much more at Christmas.
Some of the ancillary services at the hospital and outpatient barracks were closed for the Christmas weekend so we went through a lot of supplies and many of your donations were put to immediate use. On Chirstmas Day we delivered a trunkload of Blankets of Hope to the hospital Chaplains and directly to the ICU.
Lots of outpatients came to our freight rooms while we were working to request clothing and hygiene items, and we continually replenished the "SA Donations Shelf" in the barracks. Sweats, knit caps, and gloves were especially appreciated due to the very cold weather.
Food - gosh, did we have food at Kleber! An extra table was set up in the barracks for baked goods sent by you and brought by local supporters. Several local groups brought in complete meals on the 23, 24, and 25. An Air Force Squadron based at Ramstein even brought their own chafing dishes! We were kept busy helping the groups set up, clearing used platters, consolidating plates of cookies, etc.
On the 24th, the Marines Liaisons hosted a lunch for their inpatients and the staff at the hospital. Several of their patients attended in wheelchairs, as well as many of the nurses. We made up plates for the ICU staff and brought them up. The delicious ham, sweet potatoes, etc. meal was prepared by one of the Marines volunteers, and she made enough for the Kleber outpatients as well.
The guys at Kleber were eating the stuff as fast as it came in, and were awed at the volume of support. "You don't know how it feels to be able to just come in here and eat a chocolate chip cookie, " said a Soldier who had been running missions near Ramadi and eating MREs for 2-3 weeks at a time. "Or to be able to get on the phone and call home any time I want", he added.
You can read a short vignette about this Soldier on the blog here.
The Chaplains had set up 2 gorgeous Christmas trees in the dayrooms, and we had a lovely informal service on Christmas Eve.
One of our Christmas projects was to hang up Christmas cards from home at Kleber outpatient barracks, assisted by the outpatients. It looks great and we had a lot of fun. I posted a photo on the blog here.
We were also able to distribute many, many Christmas/Thank You cards to the staff at Landstuhl hospital who were very, very touched. I explained to each group that people back home wanted to let them know how much their work is appreciated.
Last but not least, we assembled and distributed 500 Christmas Goodie Bags complete with phone cards to the patients at Landstuhl and Kleber.
In spite of the circumstances, we had a wonderful Christmas at Landstuhl/Kleber.
Thank you for making a difference to our fighting men and women recovering in Germany. They are always so moved by your thoughtfulness, compassion, and support. I wish you could meet them - you would be very, very proud.
God bless you all and God bless our troops.
Director, International Operations