DAR Members Tour Landstuhl Regional Medical Center and
Donate $25,000 to Wounded Warriors Project
WASHINGTON, DC - A delegation of DAR members, including President General Presley Merritt Wagoner, recently visited Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (LRMC) in Landstuhl, Germany, where they had the opportunity to offer heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to those brave men and women wounded in the ongoing military combat in Iraq and Afghanistan for their courageous sense of duty and sacrifice. Even more, the President General recognized the passionate dedication of the medical staff to the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of these very individuals by presenting a $25,000 check to the LRMC Wounded Warrior Project and a certificate of appreciation to the LRMC staff on behalf of National Chairman Virginia Sebastian Storage, her DAR Project Patriot Committee, and all members of the DAR.
"It was a privilege to represent the Daughters of the American Revolution at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center," said President General Wagoner. "To have the opportunity to meet with the soldiers and tell them how deeply grateful we are for their service and sacrifice was truly an honor." The President General described the experience as "incredible," one that she will never forget as she was able to personally express that "we are proud of them, that they are uppermost in our thoughts and prayers and that our organization steadfastly supports them today and will continue to do so in the future."
Located 5 kilometers south of Ramstein Air Base in Germany, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center is a permanent United States Military installation. As the largest American hospital outside of the United States, and the only American tertiary hospital in Europe, LRMC provides primary and tertiary care, hospitalization, and treatment for more than 52,000 American military personnel and their families within the center's boundaries. Even more, the center provides specialized care for the more than 250,000 additional American military personnel and their families in the European theater.
The ongoing military combat in Iraq and Afghanistan continues to bring wounded soldiers, marines and airmen to LRMC for medical attention, many arriving with little clothing and very few personal items. While every patient receives a $250 voucher from the Department of Defense to be used at Army Air Force Exchange Services to meet their clothing needs, the Wounded Warrior Project also provides new clothes and other personal needs to those evacuated and does so in a most positive and compassionate manner. In the spring of 2005, DAR associated with Landstuhl Regional Medical Center and the Wounded Warriors Project as part of DAR Project Patriot. Since then, the DAR has donated 10,000 60-minute phone cards, over 50,000 holiday cards along with pre-stamped blank cards for soldiers to send to their families, 500 gym bags stocked with personal care items, and 500 "break-away" sweat suits to the wounded at the hospital. These donations were made possible by the generous monetary contributions of DAR members worldwide.
Comprised of national officers and members of the Palatinate Chapter in Ramstein, Germany, the DAR group visiting LRMC was invited by Chaplain (Major) Randy Wren to take an unexpected and extensive tour of the medical facilities, one which included a visit to the ICU, the surgical wards and to the "Chaplain's Closet" where donated items are received, stocked and distributed. Here, among the vast array of items-clothes, greeting cards, entertainment and personal hygiene items-Chaplain Wren explained that when soldiers arrive at LRMC, they are given something tangible from home so to encourage and comfort them in a most difficult time. Additionally, the DAR members were most impressed with the complex system of receiving the wounded as a personal liaison officer is assigned to each soldier to assist them at any time during their stay at the medical center.
At the petition of Chaplain Wren, the members witnessed firsthand the arrival of wounded soldiers to the medical center and not only had the opportunity to greet them but also spoke briefly with them and, in some cases, took their hands and encouraged them with words of appreciation and gratitude. "Looking in their eyes - it was just incredible to be able to stand there and greet those boys!" exclaimed the President General as she recounted the emotionally moving experience.
The DAR members were struck by the strong and tireless commitment demonstrated by the soldiers and staff with whom they met and spoke during their visit. The profound responsibilities assumed by the nursing staff were evident as one member was asked to read a touching letter from a mother whose son had died before she had the opportunity to say goodbye. The professionalism and emotional strength that the staff demonstrated were inspiring to the DAR visitors, and the opportunity to thank the staff was just as important to the DAR visitors as thanking the soldiers. As the DAR representatives talked with the wounded soldiers they explained what the DAR is and extended to them the heartfelt gratitude of all the members for their service and sacrifice. One soldier even held up his DAR phone card as he thanked a member. He had just used it to call home and assure his parents he was alright. Each "wounded warrior" the DAR members visited received a special "thinking of you" card made by children in their local communities.
"Today my pride in being a Daughter of the American Revolution brought me to tears," explained Mindy Kammeyer, one of the members who visited the center. "I held the hand of a young man who had lost an eye and was covered with shrapnel wounds - I wish all Daughters could have been with us in the hospital. We brought the Wounded Warriors and the staff the love and prayers of all the Daughters. They thanked us over and over again for the visit."
The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, a worldwide service organization with nearly 3,000 chapters, is devoted to promoting patriotism, historic preservation, and education. With almost 168,000 members, it has been one of the nation's most active service organizations since its founding in 1890. In just a few examples: Daughters provide financial support for scholarships, fund schools for abused and abandoned children, and volunteer time to local programs such as literacy tutoring. Members contribute thousands of hours of volunteer time in the nations VA hospitals each year as well as provide support and encouragement to active military personnel through various programs such as DAR Project Patriot. In communities across the country, local chapters distribute thousands of U.S. Flags each year, and welcome thousands of new citizens. For more information on the work of the DAR and how to become a member, visit www.dar.org.
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