“He has no personal effects”

August 24, 2009 at 3:20 pm | Posted in Fisher Houses, General Troop Support, Veteran Support | Leave a comment
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A must read Blog post from ” My position on the Way”

“He has no personal effects. The only things that came with him from downrange[to Germany] were an envelope with a couple of [military challenge] coins and his Soldiers’ Angels backpack.”

That, in and of itself is a powerful statement.

About 10 last night, a friend of mine from college called to tell my Mrs. her husband (also another friend from college) was wounded in Iraq. His leg was badly injured, and he was in Germany, but would be transported to WRAMC soon.

The Mrs., who has walked many miles in those shoes.

Then I did something that I absolutely hate having to do: I shot a red-star cluster (a flare we use in the army that shoots a rocket up to about 250 feet and then shoots a shower of bright red sparks. In training, it is used to alert everyone on the battlefield that a serious real-world injury has happened, and mark the location for pickup.

In war, it is used to tell the helicopter where to land to pick up the casualties.

My figurative red star was fired out into the community of milbloggers and more importantly, Soldier’s Angels. Between the time I found out (actually before) a Soldier’s Angel in Germany was present, holding his hand, making sure he was comforted and taken care of, contacting his spouse, who was back in the states trying to wrangle arrangements for their two kids. (Sound familiar so far?) and the time I woke up this morning, SA-stateside had energized their wounded team, making sure that he (and the other critically wounded patients flying in today) would have someone waiting on them.

They’d contacted his spouse again, making sure that anything she needed was also getting taken care of. Did she need someone to watch the kids? The dog? Did she need someone to run errands so she could take a nap? Was there anything at all she needed? Not to mention getting her information–gleaned from thousands of patients and families Soldiers Angels has cared for–to help her ask and answer the questions she had yet to think of. Other Angels were securing a beach head for her–making sure she was taken care of logistically at Walter Reed. Everything they could possibly do to pave the way, allow her to focus on her soldier, is being taken care of. (How many of you know there is a dunkin’ donuts and a subway in the lobby at WRAMC, or would even think that she might want some gift cards for them?) SA already purchased them!

As a leader, one of the scariest places to be is when you don’t know what it is that you don’t know. You can’t be sure if you’ve planned for the most likely possibilities if the battlefield is too uncertain, or if you are entering an area that you never dreamed you’d be entering. You are planning in a vacuum of information, on unfamiliar terrain, and have no idea what you need to do to make progress. Soldiers Angels tries to fill that information void–to help those spouses figure out what they need to do, to prioritize what needs to be done, to provide that much-needed information and prioritization to a spouse who is on an emotional precipice. Moreover, they make sure that no soldier goes unloved–whether it’s holding hands in the ICU in Germany, or in Walter Reed, or Brooke Amy Medical Center, or Bethesda, or Balboa, or anywhere a wounded soldier finds himself.

Read more here >MY POSITION ON THE WAY

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