They Grow Big In Kansas

Sept 23, 2007

I am going to combine the last couple of days into this post. I have been extremely busy. We have had several flights come in but not a lot of patients.

Most of my day is filled with sorting and packing boxes for down range. I want to explain why I have been doing this and why it is so important. LRMC receives items that LHCP posts on our web page as DO NOT SEND items. People and organizations decide they are going to send it anyways. For the reasons we have posted on our web page the troops will not take these items. Large bottles, tubes, multi packs are not used due to the short stays here. These items continue to pile up. They are then moved to a warehouse that does not belong to LRMC, but to another military organization. This surplus soared to 12 pallets of excess. Due to the storage space this takes up, LRMC was told to get rid of it. I was asked back in May for contacts down range that could use the supplies. I asked our contacts who needed the items and the quantities needed. I also opened it up to LHCP members contacts and others on the website. LRMC prepared the shipment. Called the military postal service to let them know that 12 pallets would be shipped. They gave them all the details. It was taken down and the pallets were dropped off. The next day the chaplains were asked to come back and pick it up. Due to regulations they were not able to ship it as it was. They checked with military lawyers and the German Red Cross is one of the organizations that they can give it to. I have been able to work with the patients and I can get the boxes out. So since my time is limited and I believe my time here was to help all our troops, even if there is down time between flights I work to get these supplies down range. Thursday 12 boxes went out, Friday 12 more boxes went out. After the 12 boxes went out on Friday I prepared 6 more boxes for Monday.

Today is Saturday but I went into work. I had not planned to but when you feel the draw to do something you just need to do it and you figure it out later. About 2 hours after I was at work a young man came out of the hospital and asked where the chaplains were. I asked him if he was looking for the chaplains clothing closet or a chaplain. He said chaplain. I know that we have on call chaplains but did not know if one was in. We went in to check and the hallway was dark. I checked the door and it was opened so someone had to be there. I found an assistant and told her that we were looking for a chaplain. I heard this sob behind me and when I turned around this man just let loose with the tears. I put my water bottle down and gave him a hug. He hugged my back. I told him everything was going to be OK. He told me he could not stop crying. I asked him if he wanted some water and he said yes. We went back outside. We talked about his trip to LRMC. He was an escort for another patient. He said he knew that it sounded stupid but he did not want to come to LRMC. He said it was so beautiful here. I told him that there is always a reason for everything in life, the people that you meet, and the places that you go. It is how you handle it that you determine. He told me again that he did not know why he could not stop crying, he had never done this before. I told him that crying relieves stress and maybe this trip to LRMC was want was needed for him even though he did not know that. I told him that I knew that every breath in Iraq zaps the energy from you due to the heat and the sand. He said it did, but when he left the states he knew he was set for a long road trip and that is how he prepares for it. I told him that this trip to LRMC was a renewal for him and time to refresh himself with new energy. He said that his men could not do the same. I told him that they could through him. It goes back to the taking from one another. I asked him if he ever had someone walk pass him in the hall way and say GOOD MORNING with a bright smile and it made him feel better and cheerful. He said yes. I asked him if he ever ran into someone who was grumpy and miserable and when he left he felt down also. He said he had. I told him that this maybe his opportunity to take back a renewed spirit to his guys and pass it around. Maybe he was sent to LRMC because he could pass the positive spirit better than someone else could.

He was from Kansas. I was born in Kansas. I only lived there 6 months. I know nothing about Kansas, other than it is flat. Anyone that knows me knows that I am about 5 10, this young man was about 6 foot. I asked him if they grew everyone tall in Kansas. He laughed a little. (HA break through). I asked him if he was married and he is and expecting a baby. We talked about the baby. We talked about his tours. We talked about a buddy from his high school that he met on the aircraft while escorting the patient who he did not know had joined the Air Force. When the chaplain finally caught up to us and they were walking inside to talk he turned around to say bye to me and he smiled. What a big improvement from the young man who did not understand his crying and was so upset. I hope to see him again.

The last two days have been have been to the thanks of my board members Rachel and Sharon and their contribution to my trip.

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