This will be short tonight as I’m tired but wanted to let you know that the guys and gals here are so thankful for everything that they receive here. It is interesting how they believe that one group is more deserving than themselves.
I spoke with a warrant yesterday. He was impressed by the amount and variety of items that we had. He asked me if everything was donated. He told me that these guys really deserved it. I’m sure I must have had a puzzled look on my face; you see, he was a patient also. Wounded with leg injuries and sutures that he would travel back to the States with and yet he did not include himself in the, “THESE GUYS REALLY DESERVE IT,” comment. So, I repeated it to him and said you don’t include yourself in that? He said, “NO.” That he was a fly boy and that the guys and gals on the ground deserved it all. I looked down at the floor, went to his side, put my arm in his and said that if I remembered correctly, we had just lost 14 “FLYBOYS” in the past two weeks. That he was here for an injury that he received in the line of duty. That he had the back of the ground pounders. Who had his back? SO, what made him any less deserving? He just smiled at me. I smiled at him, went over to the boxers and asked if he was a boxer or briefs kind of guy, and we started to fill his bag.
Today I met a young woman that must not have been older than 25. I’m not sure, but I think she was receiving treatment for cancer as she had lost 97% of her hair. She kept telling me that she was uncomfortable with taking what she needed and that we were too nice. After about ten minutes of filling her bag and her telling us we were too kind, I told her that if she needed anything else to come back and see us, but to make sure I was not there because she was too difficult to work with. Of course I said it with a smile. She LAUGHED and said I had made her day. (Maybe people just always treated her with kid gloves?)
I talked with a kid today that came in and looked dazed, to say the least. He said that he was told to come see us for stuff he might need. I said, “You are in the right place, but you look lost.” He said that he is not used to people. I said, “People?” He said, “Well, kids and women and joking.” That he had been with a small group of just men for six months. It was strange to him even to be just in the hospital environment. He said people keep smiling and joking with him, and he is having problems with it. I said, “Well we won’t smile and joke in here then.” We talked about what he needed and went about filling his bag. When and if he thought he was going back to the States and where that was. Then just out of the blue, he said something that was funny. I wish I could tell you what it was, but for the life of me, I can’t remember. I just looked at him and he looked at me and I was a little scared to smile, so I said, “See, you told a joke.” He laughed a little and said, “YEAH, but it was a bad one, huh?” And laughed again. I put my hand on him and told him that he could come back and tell me as many bad jokes as he wished; my family was full of them, so he would make me feel right at home.
Yesterday and today reminds me, and should remind all of us, that this war affects all these troops, young and old, differently. We need to be aware of that and keep that in our thoughts at all times. So that we can respond as they need us to help support them, not just in the clothing items that we provide, but in the emotional needs that are even more important.
This was much longer than I thought I could do and I’m really tired and need to try to get to bed early tonight. I’m waking up at 2:30 and ready to go to work. TIME ZONES, uggh!!