24 March 2010

A day at the Landstuhl Fisher House

What were you doing last Saturday?

This was March 20, 2010, at the Landstuhl Fisher House:

Ramstein Air Base, Germany -- Members of the Kaiserslautern Military Community gave a few hours of their time to bring just a bit of home to families staying at the Fisher House at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany, March 20. Volunteers from the KMC 5/6 organization, along with other units, provided meals from their own kitchens to the families and patients staying at the Fisher House.

The volunteers unloaded their delivery one after another. The kitchen of the Fisher House soon became filled with an assortment of dishes and desserts. The meals consisted from a whole roast to the most simple, yet heartfelt, tray of cookies.

"The variety of food is really amazing. There's something here for everybody," said Karen Williams-Clarkson from Fairbanks, Alaska. "There's even something for my grandson."

Mrs. Williams-Clarkson is the mother of Sgt. Joel David Clarkson. She was staying at the Fisher House, along with her family of five, waiting to escort her son home.

FORT BRAGG (WTVD) -- An Army Ranger has died from wounds he received in a conflict in Afghanistan.

Sgt. Joel David Clarkson, 23, was seriously wounded in a fierce engagement with a heavily armed enemy force in the Farah Province on March 13. He was taken to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Landstuhl, Germany where he died on March 16.

Clarkson served with served with Company A, 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

He was on his fifth deployment in support of the War on Terror with three previous deployments to Iraq and one to Afghanistan.

"Sgt. Clarkson was the epitome of the Ranger Team Leader -- he cared deeply for his men, always led from the front, and was at his best when the situation was the most dire," said Col. Michael E. Kurilla, commander, 75th Ranger Regiment. "He is a hero to our Nation, the Army, and his Family."

According to the Army, the Rangers ultimately killed eight enemy fighters during that battle, destroyed their base of operations along with weapons and ammunition, and captured a key leader of the terrorist network, according to official military reports.

Clarkson is survived by his wife, Cassandra and their son, Orion of Norfolk, Va.; his parents, Steve and Karen Clarkson of Fairbanks, Ala.; and his older sister, Jessica.

The Clarkson "Family Unit" posted by Doni Turner at the "In Support and Love of Joel Clarkson" Facebook page.

Godspeed, Sgt. Clarkson. RLTW!

Update: In a follow up to this story, Doni Turner writes about saying goodbye to her son-in-law.


Brad Turner said...

As the father of Cassandra Clarkson and the father in law of Sgt Joel Clarkson I would like to extend my thanks to the members of the Kaiserslautern Military Community, as well as those who work at the Fisher house. Your kindness to my family at this time means more than I can say. Thank you.
Brad Turner

MaryAnn said...

Mr. Turner,

On behalf of all of us at Soldiers' Angels, please accept our deepest condolences. Joel and your family make all of us strive to be better people - people worthy of the sacrifice you have made.

We promise to remember Joel always.

Soldiers' Angels

Dan (San Diego) said...

Mr. Turner,

I'm praying for the comfort of your family in your time of need.......
God Bless you and your family.

Sgt. Joel David Clarkson, Thank you Sir, our Nation will never forget.

Doni Turner said...

My husband conveys exactly what I would have said. Thank you, so very much, for the tender care of our daughter, Cassandra and Joel's family.  Losing Joel leaves all of us living our lives in a less bright world - but our pride in what he was and what he stood for remains unwaivering.

Thank you again.
~Doni Turner

Donna Mathis said...

My sister and brother-in-law were stationed at Kaiserslautern years ago. I shared your story of loss with her. She told me how caring everyone is there. We are so sorry for your loss. We hope our words can bring you some comfort and convey to you how grateful we are and how deeply sorry we are for your son-in-law's ultimate sacrifice.