Today is my first day with the wounded and ill warriors. Each Saturday, the Chaplain’s Closet takes the warriors on a day retreat. It is more like of a sight seeing tour; however, as one wounded warrior told me, “I feel like I went on vacation for a whole week.”
After the CBS Evening News story, LHCP received many donations. Some of the donors requested that the money come straight to me for my use. . Sharon and I wrote letters or spoke with many of the donors and they agreed to turn over the money to LHCP use. Some said that they wanted the money to come to me for my personal use. I am overwhelmed with donors’ kindness towards me and appreciate their gesture very much. Although I understand the intentions for their request and it is very admirable and most appreciated by me, I cannot accept these funds for my personal use. I wrote the letters to explain why this is the case and to offer an alternative way for me to use their gift.
When I began down this road over eight years ago, to provide needed items for our military men and women, I also made a promise and commitment to do so without compensation for myself, or for anyone connected to this non-profit. I felt strongly then and now that any monetary donations should and would be used for the benefit of our troops. I also felt that if I allowed myself, or others, to financially profit in any way from this operation, that it would not be honoring our military men and women in the manner they deserve. These individuals sacrifice so much on a daily basis and what LHCP does is just a small gesture of love and thanks to them.
With that said, I proposed the donors that I would use their kind donations to purchase lunch for wounded warriors during my annual trip to LRMC in Germany. By using their donation in this manner, it will not only make me extremely happy, but it will also allow us to spread some joy to the wounded at LRMC. This is something near and dear to my heart and their donations will be greatly appreciated for this purpose.
I asked the donors that if this was not what they felt their donation to me was for, to please let me know and I will return their checks to them without prejudice or malice. I received permission to use the donations for this purpose.
Today our trip with the wounded was down the Rhine River to view the many, many castles. So, this morning, part of these donations was used to buy a small breakfast meal such as coffee and a danish or tea and a fruit cake. They all loved it. I had to smile as I looked around, because some of them looked as if they were eating a meal worth a thousand dollars instead of just a couple hundred for all of them.
We then got everyone to the boat and down the Rhine. I don’t think I have ever heard so many clicks from cameras and iPhone before. When the Rhine River tour was finished, we took all of them to a typical wine cellar German restaurant. They each had a small bowl of soup, then salad, then their meal, and dessert. We found out that one of the wounded had a birthday and so we asked for her to be brought a birthday dessert. Everyone sang Happy Birthday. They were told that LHCP purchased their meals and they thanked all of our sponsors for the support.
During the bus ride back to LRMC, I could not help but keep looking at their faces. Some were sleeping;others were just as quite as a church mouse. When they got on the bus six hours ago, many showed signs of stress. Now they were calm and so peaceful – what a beautiful thing to watch happen during the last few hours.
Each year our board asks for donations to help with this trip. This year was no different and we received several “trip sponsors.” Today I worked ten hours with the sponsorship of Larry and Rachel Hause. Larry and Rachel have been long time LHCP donors, supporters, members, and friends. Thank you both. Your impact on our wounded is far beyond words.
LHCP Founder and President