No Strings Attached

Jim Spliedt, Vice President

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Blog #6

I must admit that yesterday, after working all day on my feet at the Wounded Warrior Clothing Closet, I was very tired.  It was early to bed last night after almost falling asleep at the hotel restaurant.

When I arrived this morning at the Clothing Closet, there were patients already getting items.  One thing I learned yesterday was to be sure they tried on clothing items like the jackets, because they tended to be on the small size and we would need to go to the next larger size to ensure it fit properly.   I was assisting one soldier in finding items and found out that he originally was in the Marines from 1978 through 1985.  After discussing where he was stationed, it turned out he started boot camp in San Diego just as I finished and was graduating.

This morning we had a contractor from Fiji that was in a wheelchair because of leg surgery.  All he asked for was a small backpack to help carry a few of his things.  I got him the bag he wanted and asked if he needed anything else.  He just looked around and asked how much he needed to pay for the bag.  One of the other volunteers told him everything was free. It took a couple tries, but she finally convinced him that everything was free.  In the end, he got a couple pairs of ankle sock, a new t-shirt, and a washcloth; still a little shocked he was getting these items with no strings attached.

This afternoon, I assisted in unpacking items that had been received in the mail.  There were probably a couple dozen boxes that needed to be opened and the contents sorted and stored.   Of course, for the couple boxes of Girl Scout cookies, it seemed everyone had an opinion on which were the best.  While we were opening the boxes, there were two issues that came up.  The first one was the number of boxes that contained materials on our website’s “Do Not Send List” for Landstuhl Region Medical Center (LRMC).  Several packages had books and puzzles, which they cannot use, and Karen had one with movies on video tapes.  To be honest, LRMC does not have a single video machine on site to play these tapes.  As with many of our field units, storage space is at a premium, so boxes of bulky items that cannot be used is a problem.  The second issue came up when I was unlucky enough to open a box with a lot of toiletry items like shampoo, conditioner, and hand lotion.  I had emptied the box in a container we were using to sort the hygiene items when I noticed everything on the bottom of this box was covered in hand lotion.  One of the tops came off of a bottle and leaked on many of the other items in the box.  This was a reminder to me, if you are going to ship liquids like lotion, be sure to use Ziploc bags which will contain any accidental spillage.  Taping down the tops before going into a Ziploc bag is a good idea, too.

Tomorrow is the big Spring Cleaning day at the Wounded Warrior Clothing Closet and I found my name on the signup sheet to help.  I guess I will need to wear some clothes I don’t mind getting dirty.

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