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Monday, December 20, 2004

A Hero Heals - Update December 20th

Joey is in casting this Monday morning. The left leg stump will be evaluated. Joey was in severe pain on Saturday with it and asked me to have the doctor paged. I asked the desk nurse, Lt. Brown, to call one of the three orthopedic surgeons, Dr. Hampston, Dr. Frisk, Dr. Lacup. He called the weekend -on -call doctor and she said that Joey could wait until Monday because he was due to be re-casted. I knew Joey was in severe pain so I asked the desk nurse to page Dr. Hampston. He informed me that procedure was to call in house doctor on weekends. I returned to Joey's room and started to pray and read a booked named WHY (deals with people questioning God why bad things happen to good people) written by Dr. Billy Graham's daughter, Ann. I had read the preface which talks about Lazarus being raised from the dead and then was on page 4 when the door slightly opened and Dr. Hampton stuck his head in and waved quietly because Joey was nodding. I jumped up and ran to him and asked, "Who called you?" He replied, "No one, I just came to check on Joey." He was dressed in blue jeans and jacket, not white coat. I said, "God sent you." Within 20 minutes, Dr. Hampston had the cast cut to relieve the pressure on Joey's leg. What a miracle that God intervened within 20 minutes for Joey's sake. Keep praying about this leg and the bacteria that Joey doesn't have to have more surgery. I'll keep you informed on airing on CBS.
Gail and Joey

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Home...

to all Soldiers, Civilian and Patients in the US Hospital in Landstuhl, the Fisher House in Landstuhl and the Kleber Barracks in Kaiserslautern!

On the 15th December 2004, a wonderful winter morning with blue sky and white frosted trees, we started with 2 cars our trip to Landstuhl. It was so cold, but no rain and snow! A great day began. So let me tell you: Our day in Landstuhl was, I cannot tell you, overwhelming. It was a large moment to see, that someone is so far away from home and you can treat to him and you see that he is overjoyed and his eyes beam with joy.

This is a story you don't believe if you have everything what you like to have to live! Rudi told me he has never seen that someone was so happy to get a shower gel! He told me, "Tell me how anyone can be happy only over a shower gel!" As I set up an open box with personal hygiene items at the entrance of the Kleber Barracks because I had something left in my car. I saw as I came back that a soldier in uniform was standing nearby the box and looking in it! As my husband saw him the Soldier looked at Rudi and asked him: "Sir, can I have this shower gel, only the shower gel please?" Rudi looked so surprised and said, "Yes sure! All the things we have with us are for the soldiers, Sir." In this moment the Soldier, he has been arrived in Kleber today, looked perfectly happy and he said so many thanks to Rudi. So a shower gel is sometimes such more as an expensive gift what you do not need at the moment!

Operation Christmas From Home
East Hill Christian School 1st + 4th grade Pensacola, Fl
Posted on the wall at the ward-

First I must say "Thank you" to all the wonderful people who donated so much good things for the 60 backpacks, 25 sport backs, and all the Christmas stockings which arrived here in Germany for to hand out to wounded Soldiers and Marines in LRMC and in the Kleber Barracks.

Our new Angel Mary Ann, an American from Munich, came with us with additional 47 filled backpacks, 20 CD player and 20 special backpacks for wounded women. And so it is the Soldiers Angels hope that we can bring the wounded service members - who are far away from home and loved ones in this holiday season - holiday greetings and a little bit of comfort.

The Fisher House is "home away from home." Irene and Manfred Kilp, Mary Ann and I we met us at 9:30 am in Landstuhl on gate 3. At first we had an invitation to a wonderful musical program at the Fisher House! The Officers' wifes' Club from Ramstein AB were coming to present their Christmas program. They sung Christmas songs for guests of the Fisher House.

The Officers' wifes' Club from Ramstein AB at

the Fisher House Landstuhl

Here we met John, a wounded Airborne Division soldier with his wife. John is an outpatient and stays with his wife for recovery in the Fisher House. We wished both a wonderful Christmas under this specific circumstance this year. For his wife we had a nice German/English cooking book and for him a backpack with a handmade blanket and a large Christmas stocking.

A great thank you to Kathy Gregory, manager from the Fisher House Landstuhl for to give us her time to go with us to the wounded soldiers. We don't know how it could works without Kathy and the Fisher House! Read more here about the Fisher House and how you can help:

from left Manfred, Willie, Rudi and Irene

At the Hospital
LRMC is about eight miles away from Ramstein and is the largest U.S. Medical Center in Europe. It operates with outpatient clinics - one of them is in Kaiserslautern -- the Kleber Kaserne. Landstuhl has a capacity of 230 beds or more if it is necessary. Here you have inpatients who can have battle injuries with gun shot wounds, burns, amputations, or other non battle injuries as heart attacks and so on. And here are outpatients, who can go by themselves and do not need to lay down in a bed for recovery.

As we went to the hospital with Kathy, the manager from Fisher House and SPC W. from the Family Assistance Center with 60 filled backpacks with handmade blankets. Our sewing circles gave their time and sew the blankets for the wounded. These blankets will bring hope to so many of our wounded heroes. The Clair E. Gale Junior High School, ID as well as, Joyce from AZ, Paul and Berta from CA, Rosi from Idaho, Sarah from FL and the students from the East Hill Christian School 1st and 4th grade Pensacola, Fl and other Angels and friends have sent us to fill in the backpacks wonderful Christmas cards. A lot of other Angels have donated T-shirts, socks, underpants, candies, items for personal hygiene, books and more goodies. And we here in Germany have filled all the backpacks and sportbags. And without the personal help from Sgt. Leecharde R. Bersamina from the 1st AD this would not be possible, too.
The 150 Christmas stockings from the Soldiers Angels were a gift bag of goodies filled with reading materials, stationary, pens, socks, and selected toiletry items such as bath gels, shampoos, lotions, razors, dental products, or more goodies.

Operation Christmas From Home

As we handed out the first Christmas stockings in the Hospital the both wounded were so surprised that someone from home was thinking on them. Both asked me at once, "Who has made the wonderful Christmas stockings?" I told them, "two great ladies, Sarah and Becky, worked over months to make this ready for you!" A doctor who was standing beside the bed of one wounded hero told me, "it is a great thing that so much people from home spend their time and money to bring our heroes a so great Christmas gift. They must know that they are not alone" You can believe me the both guys had tears in their eyes!

Christmas messages
Later we met Chaplain Young on the floor too and he told me, "please give all Angels and friends a great thank you for all the good things the Soldiers Angels are doing for the wounded soldiers here in Landstuhl and Merry Christmas to you all." The eight Christmas books we have with us, with - Christmas messages from home - we have let one in the Fisher House and the others in the Hospital and Kleber. Later as we were on the way to lunch I met Lt. Col. S. R., one of the chief nurses of the Landstuhl nursing staff and she said, "you all are doing a great work! Thank you again and Merry Christmas."

Wounded Guardman
K. F. a D
eputy Public Affairs Officer from Oregon National Guard asked me, "Please look for Staff Sgt. C. who will arrive soon from Iraq. We have heard he shattered the bones in his legs enroute to his base station in Iraq and was at the hospital in Baghdad due to be sent to Landstuhl for stabilisation prior to travelling to Army Hospital in the States." For the wounded Guardman we had a special backpack with a pair of trousers, t-shirt, underpants, socks, sweater, personal hygiene items, blanket and candies and more. It was not possible to visit him in person and talk to him. The security is very high at the moment! A nurse has brought in our name this backpack with a nice Get Well card to him and has given him out best wishes for a fast recovery! This is the most of the time normal I must say. Sometimes we can go and talk with the wounded soldiers and other times it is not possible like here. We are not sad about this! Security is very important today, terrible that we must say this.

A backpack for a Guardman

Operation Christmas From Home
Our Angels Sarah LaPage, FL and Becky Morton, NC started in fall the project "Operation Christmas From Home" to bring some love and cheer to the wounded soldiers in Landstuhl and other main military hospitals in the States. A lot of students and people from companies have helped to make 500 Stockings ready with a lot of personal items and goodies and more. And over 140 are arrived in Landstuhl and donated amongst other things from:

The Soldiers' Angels Foundation and Hershey Foods, PA. Hershey Foods sent the following message to our Herous: "Please relay to the men and women that it is people like them who have made our great country what it is today, and we at Hershey Foods thank them for their dedication. Our hearts go out to them for so bravely serving our nation." Cindy and Caley Trujillo, Kennesaw, GA. Caley is in the Girl Scouts, and chose Operation Christmas from Home as her service project! She and her mom Cindy contributed over 70 stockings to the project with assistance from: Girl Scout Troop 2161.

The many, many Soldiers' Angels who wrote Christmas cards and sent them to Sarah and Becky to stuff in the stockings for the heroes. There are too many of them for to thank here! Four schools in Pensacola, FL whose students wrote Christmas cards especially for our project. Despite being delayed in their lessons for several weeks due to Hurricane Ivan, these schools still took the time to do something special for our wounded soldiers: Little Flower Catholic School, East Hill Christian School, Alethia Christian Academy and Trinitas Christian Academy. If you have more questions about the Christmas Project 2004 or if you are interested to work with us for the next Christmas project 2005 please contact Sarah LaPage or Becky Morton,

Santas for Soldiers
You do not believe it! More Christmas Stockings were coming! From the project "Santas for Soldiers", from students of the Lewisville High School, 1098 W. Main, Lewisville, Texas 75067 came 145 stockings in 13 boxes to me for to bring it in their name to the wounded soldiers.

Santas for Soldiers
Posted on the wall at any ward in LRMC.

All students don't have a lot of money, but they have big hearts. In all the stockings the soldiers didn't found expensive stuff, but what they used so much, personal items and goodies.

"Santas for Soldiers" from Texas

"May No Soldier Go Unloved"

From Colorado we received wonderful 38 handmade ornament Christmas stockings from clients of Bernina Sewing Center which are donated over the Bernina store, Co. The filling was donated and suffered by church members, friends and family of Joan Pignon or others. From the Colorado Angels we had to talk to all wounded soldier: "Thank you for sacrificing the comforts we are enjoying to go away from your family and friends, your hobbies and interests so that we can maintain our liberties. Thank you for going without creature comforts and for enduring extreme environments, hostile people, monotonous work, horrible scenes and repetitive meal selections. Thank you for sharing the generosity and concern of Americans with those who question our movies dislike our interventions. Again, thank you for your service to our country! We are praying for your health, safety, and optimism and for your family."

"May No Soldier Go Unloved"

Christmas Stockings from a Colorado Contingent of Soldiers Angels

Our visit in the Kleber Barracks in Kaiserslautern.
On our trip to Kleber Kaserne in Kaiserslautern a medical facility from Landstuhl came Darla and Jane with us. This was the first time that we were here. As we arrived in Kleber, at first SSG G. told us something about the Kleber Kaserne.

Here it is where soldiers stay who not requiring hospital beds but evacuated to Landstuhl stay here during appointments and medical treatment. The soldiers travel normally 30-40 minuets each way by bus to LRMC to have here their medical treatment. The barracks can hold 356 Soldiers, but average only 150. If necessary, up to 410 Soldiers could be accommodated in the second building they have. Here is a place where transient Soldiers can relax and recharge their batteries as they wait for their wounds to heal. At the moment every week 110 wounded come or leave Kleber. The average stay for a Soldier before returning to duty lasted not more than 15 days. The soldiers told us a stay at Kleber are short term and relatively comfortable. Here the soldiers have a pool table, library, free Internet access, movie rooms, reading room, Ping-Pong table, air hockey table, two day rooms, each with its own wide-screen television, a kitchenette and a telephone room where Soldiers can call their families for free. The soldiers here in Kleber do not need a phone card! The library has a lot of donated books and new magazines. Soldiers who come here receive two sets of desert battle-dress uniforms, a Gore-Tex jacket and a pair of gloves and a $250 AAFES gift card so they can purchase some civilian clothing. SSG G. showed us his full storage. He was glad that he has now enough uniforms for the soldiers.

After the lesson from SSG G. our hard work started! At first we all together brought the Christmas stockings in the large hall on the first floor. We all drove a lot of nails into the wall and have hung up all Christmas stockings on the wall. So all soldiers could take a wonderful Christmas gift by themself.

A younger and an older soldier were coming to us and say thank you for the stockings. And Kathy introduced us Germans working together with the Soldiers Angels to make this ready for them. They asked us if they can make pictures of our group and we said “sure”. And so they beamed with joy!

Jane, Kathy and Rudi

Irene and the Christmas Stocking

All the soldiers who were coming in or went out, or were sitting in the TV room we have given a Christmas stocking. They asked us currently, "Who has made these wonderful Christmas stockings". They all were so surprised that we have brought such gifts for them.
Please see: Christmas from Home

A great thank to help us by the Christmas Stockings to Marietta, GA; North Cobb Jr. Cheerleading Team, Kennesaw, GA ; Employees of SITA, Atlanta, GA; Grainger Industrial Supply, Marietta, GA and Family members from GA and FL. Ann Marie Jennison and Kids Who Care Club in Southern California. More than 75 children collected items to donate, and gathered at Ann Marie's home to create homemade Christmas cards. Ann Marie told us that without a doubt, it was one of their most successful events - everyone was very eager to do something special for the wounded soldiers' Christmas! St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church, St. Petersburg, FL.; Target in Mary Esther, FL.; Georgia Berger, a Soldiers' Angel in Colorado; Cathy Nolan, a Soldiers' Angel in Indiana.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Let us hope that the next year will bring us more peace and freedom in our world.
And thank you to all the women and men to fight for us the war against the terrorism.

Wilhelmine Aufmkolk, Germany

"May No Soldier Go Unloved"

A Hero Heals - Update December 19th

Joey is in great spirits; Jayme came on Wednesday and is leaving today at noon. She will return on the 28th for good. It has helped me so much to get these three days to relax and sleep in a bed.
Joey goes to casting tomorrow, Monday, instead of Tuesday as planned. Dr. Hampton will re-evaluate his stump. Pray that all is well and no surgery is needed. There is a sore on Joey's right arm stump that is giving a problem; they can't fit a prothesis until this heals. Also that ugly bacteria is hanging around. Joey is placed in the electric wheel chair and taken to therapy every week day. This is necessary to get him up and moving and to get his limbs back to working. Joey will be on tv again; I'll let everyone know in time to watch. Thanks so much for all your support and prayers. I'll be emailing pics of the wedding to you too. Merry Christmas and God Bless You!
Gail and Joey

U.S Marines from 3rd battalion, 1st Marines

U.S Marines from 3rd battalion, 1st Marines, secure area in the Iraqi town of Falluja, 50-km (30 miles) west of Baghdad, December 20, 2004. REUTERS/Shamil Yahoo! News - World Photos - Reuters

Bush: Iraq on the way, deficits to shrink... Accused baby stealer in court.. in Iraq & Terror

Explosion in Karbala in Iraq & Terror

Fallujah residents to begin returning: "BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Residents of the devastated city of Fallujah will begin returning to their homes later this week in several stages, and each family will be compensated for damages caused by recent fighting between U.S. troops and insurgents, Iraqi's government said Monday."

In Fresno Bee: Iraq

Massive airlift proposed for Baghdad to ease convoy attacks in

US soldier murdered Iraqi soldier after sexual encounter in

Bush says Iraqi troops not ready to take over: "WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Bush pointedly acknowledged Monday that U.S.-trained Iraqi troops are not ready to take over their country's security, and cautioned that next month's elections there are only the beginning of a long process toward democracy."

In Iraq News

Iraq Today
50 Suspects Detained in Najaf Bombing: "Thousands of mourners attended funerals Monday and Iraqi authorities detained 50 suspects in connection with an explosion in the Shiite holy city of Najaf that killed at least 54 people and wounded 142."

In Kansas City Star: Iraq

Firm says it can't be sued over use of Iraqi funds: "ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Attorneys for a U.S.-based security company accused of setting up sham companies in a multimillion-dollar fraud scheme in Iraq are contending that the company cannot be sued und...

[in The Seattle Times]

In The US News: Iraq News

Report: Chemical Weapons Suspect Was Dutch Informer: "The Dutch intelligence serviceemployed as an informant and helped hide a Dutchman suspectedof selling materials for chemical weapons to Iraq's SaddamHussein, a daily newspaper reported Monday."

In Yahoo! News: War with Iraq

Iraqi Shia Cities Targeted: "Powerful car bomb blasts have killed and injured scores of civilians in the Iraqi Shia cities of Najaf and Karbala. In Najaf, at

[in Journal of Turkish Weekly]

In The US News: Iraq News

Iraqis receive training in Slovakia: "THE PONTIS Foundation, operating in the development aid sphere, will train young Iraqis in the workings of the non-governmental sector and political parties

[in Slovak Spectator]

In The US News: Iraq News

Violence Hits Iraqi Cities of Necef and Kerbela: "60 people were killed and 65 others were injured in suicide attacks committed in the holy Iraqi city of Necef (Najaf) yesterday during the crowded funeral

[in Zaman Online]

In The US News: Iraq News

Town lights candles for Iraqi dead: "Around 300 residents of a Victorian town battled windy conditions to light 16,419 candles - one for every civilian killed in Iraq since its occupation.

[in Ninemsn]

In The US News: Iraq News

Saddam, from His Prison Cell, Urges Iraqis to Unite: "By Suleiman al-Khalidi AMMAN (Reuters) - Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein appealed to Iraqis from his prison cell to unite against what he called U.S. efforts to sow sectarian divisions, his l...

[in Reuters]

In The US News: Iraq News

Iraq's Zebari Holds Talks With Pakistan Pres: "ISLAMABAD (AP)--Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari held talks Monday with President Gen. Pervez Musharraf during a visit to discuss Iraq's reconstruction and elections slated for next month, an o...

[in Morning Star]

In The US News: Iraq News

Dozens killed, over 100 injured as bombers target Iraq's Shiite centers: "Click to enlarge NAJAF, Iraq (AFP) - Sixty-two people were killed and over 100 wounded in the Iraqi Shiite holy cities of Najaf and Karbala by twin car bombs, marking a violent assault on the countr...

[in AFP via Yahoo]

In The US News: Iraq News

60 die as car bombs rock two cities in Iraq: "BAGHDAD, Iraq — In twin attacks targeting Iraq's major Shiite Muslim cities, car bombs in Najaf and Karbala killed at least 60 people yesterday, threatening to inflame sectarian anger as the nati...

[in The Seattle Times]

In The US News: Iraq News

Suicide Bombers Hit Holy Iraqi Cities, 62 Dead: "By Khaled Farhan NAJAF, Iraq (Reuters) - Suicide car bombers struck Iraq's two main Shi'ite holy cities of Najaf and Kerbala on Sunday, killing at least 62 people and wounding nearly 130, in coordi...

[in Reuters]

In The US News: Iraq News