Tuesday, February 28, 2012

URGENT - need clothing for our wounded warriors in Afghanistan

We have an immediate need for clothing for the wounded in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

Email me for the address to ship to:
rgodskesen @ soldiersangels.org (BE SURE TO REMOVE THE SPACES BEFORE AND AFTER @)
subject - "clothing"

Immediate need for these clothing items
Mens' only, sizes = Medium, Large and XL
suggested colors = black, gray or blue - but sports and other logos are fine.

Hooded-zipper sweatshirts (hoodies - no pullovers since the wounded can't manage these),
Sweat pants
Pajama pants
Boxer shorts or boxer-briefs

all clothing items should be new and unwashed for hospital sanitation requirements.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

KANDAHAR AIR FIELD, Afghanistan – The new Warrior Recovery Center

(Watch the video at the :50 second mark for Soldiers' Angels contribution - our First Response Backpacks with the big golden Angel wings)
To fund a backpack for a wounded warrior, please visit our Soldiers' Angels Store at Soldiers' Angels Store

KANDAHAR AIR FIELD, Afghanistan – The new Warrior Recovery Center, a brand new, state of the art intermediate treatment facility for wounded service members, officially opened its doors during a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, Feb. 16, at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan.

The ceremonial ribbon was cut by Maj. Gen. William Rapp, deputy commanding general for support, U.S. Forces –Afghanistan. He was joined by senior leaders from around Afghanistan in dedicating the facility.

Capt. Bruce Meneley, Commander of Task Force Med – South said, “When I first got here in August, it was clear that we had a very fragmented system of taking care of our wounded warriors who weren’t being transferred out of theater. Boy, we have come a long way today.”

Maj. Gen. Rapp added that keeping soldiers in country has big benefits. “The ability that you are bringing to restore the resiliency of our soldiers, to keep them near the fight, will make the units that are fighting in this battle space that much better.”

“I’m a proponent of the idea that soldiers have a ‘bank’ of resiliency,” said Rapp. “Day in and day out, when they are out on patrols, they are taking withdrawals from that bank. At some point in time, that bank account starts looking pretty low. The ability to restore them, to keep them forward near their buddies, to help rebuild their bank accounts gets them back into the fight. It keeps them from having to be evacuated. Once they are evacuated they rarely come back, but if they are here, they have a tremendously positive success rate in getting them back with their soldiers.”

The Warrior Recovery Center is a residential and outpatient military medical facility that provides short-term, comprehensive care to wounded warriors in southern Afghanistan who suffer from combat related injuries and/or combat stress. The center focuses on four pillars of treatment: Mild Traumatic Brain Injury/Concussive Care, Combat Stress Control Restorative Care, Wounded Warrior (Musculoskeletal) Care, and Behavioral Health.

Capt. Peggy Salinas, a trauma ICU nurse and the officer in charge of the WRC said, “The old Wounded Warrior area was a tent, in a crowded, dusty, noisy area. It wasn’t the best environment for rest and healing. It was hard to ensure they were getting the treatment and recovery they needed.”

The new facility, said Salinas, “Here, we provide a setting that fosters rest, healing and recuperation. The caregivers live here on campus, so we can provide 24 hour care.”

Soldiers' Angels Deployed Medical Support team is a proud sponsor and supplier of this new facility - Rog

Thursday, February 23, 2012

My Uncle Harry - April 19, 1922 - February 23, 2012‏

My Uncle Harry passed away this morning, just two months short of his 90th birthday. My Aunt Ellen was at his side, as she had been for their 68 years together.

Harry Clifford Swendsen
Private First Class
Company A, 8th Medical Battalion, 8th Infantry Division
Enlisted: October 5, 1942.

My uncle Harry was a combat medic in WW II. He was an ambulance driver. He landed at Normandy, was in the Battle of the Bulge, liberated a concentration camp and went all the way through France, Belgium and into Germany until the war ended.

I had a chance in 2007 to talk with him about his experiences during the war, and he had amazing stories to tell. Just amazing stuff. Once crawled out of a foxhole to find his ambulance full of holes from an artillery barrage, but it still ran so he drove it anyway.

He heard General George Patton give that speech to his troops, and said it was exactly like in the movie.

Woke up one time to find wounded German soldiers in the back of his ambulance...the Germans would leave their wounded with the American medics because they knew they'd be cared for.

In a town in Belgium, a German fighter dove down almost to street level to strafe his unit. Harry was plastered up against a wall, and as the plane passed, he and the pilot made eye contact for a split second.

At one point, he told me about driving his ambulance with one hand while holding a bandage on the chest of a wounded soldier with his other. He said it was hard driving in the dark with one hand over a muddy road while trying to get to the aid station as fast as possible. He said the soldier didn't survive the trip, and I asked him how that felt to him. He just gave his gentle smile and said "I feel OK, because I did my best for him".

At our last family reunion in 2009, I told him about what I was doing to help support our medics and wounded overseas. He put his hand on my shoulder, looked me in the eye and said "I'm proud of you". Nothing ever meant more to me than that.

Here's to you, Uncle Harry.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Meet some of our partners who help to support the medics

The folks at Operation Minnesota Nice, who have partnered with the Soldiers' Angels Deployed Medical team. These wonderful people are helping with some of the big requests I get from large medical units, Combat Support Hospitals and Evacuation units.

These units can treat up to hundreds of patients per week, and it takes an Army (of volunteers) to keep them in such basic needs as laundry detergent, warm clothing, and personal hygiene supplies.

Thanks Minnesota. Go Vikings!