Tuesday, April 06, 2004


I've written before about Dave, aka Defense Contractor Guy. We were roommates in college. We prowled the streets of Frankfurt together as lieutenants. He did the photography on the day CPT Patti and I got married.

And for 331 days he and his wonderful wife have provided support to me, CPT Patti and her soldiers from way back in Washington DC. Among their numerous acts of generosity they donated books. I don't know how many...but I know he and his wife are prolific readers...and Dave also enlisted assistance from his coworkers who, in turn, also donated books...and other stuff.

So my buddy Dave gets credit for the establishment of Gator Library, which CPT Patti tells me was hugely popular with her soldiers, as well as the English speaking staff at the Mess Hall.

Dave wrote recently offering more books which we had to refuse due to the pending redeployment of our units.

Last night he wrote to me about what he did with those books instead.

And I just gotta share it.

I went to Walter Reed Army Hospital today.

Wanted to do a good thing ... you know something that made me feel good. Since Patti is coming home and packages can no longer be sent I decided to take the remainder of the books (about 75 books, plus socks, cookies etc) I had collected for the gator library and give them to the Red Cross for patients to read.

Well when I got there I went through security and then parked in a loading zone front of the med facility.

I took the first two boxes of books up to the Red Cross on the 3rd floor. In the lobby I passed a soldier with fresh bandages over a stump on his arm. He had a sheaf of papers in a folder ... off to whatever medical treatment he needed. My first amputee of the day.

I brought in the first two boxes into the Red Cross office - a cramped set of rooms with too much to do and too few supplies. I dropped off the books and some soldiers went quickly in setting out the books out on the existing shelves outside the RC office - a lending library.

I left and went for the second load of books. Walking through Walter Reed is a really interesting time. Hundreds of people there for their medical support. Mostly these are retired soldiers and their dependents in the lobby ...waiting for Rx and such. But you go up the upper floors and you begin to see some of the recently injured soldiers. The two that stick in my mind are two young men wearing pajama tops, knee length shorts, and bath robes. Moving down the hall next to each other, on crutches, one had a left leg missing and the other had a right leg
missing. As they moved down the hall toward me they were strangely symmetrical. The soldier on the right with his left leg gone and the soldier on the left with his right leg gone. They moved down the hall in unison ... almost in formation, talking to each other ... friends ... their own support group. But they were still soldiers - they walked with confidence and with heads up and just a touch of arrogance. Walking with crutches they took up most of the hall way - I moved to the side to let them pass. Even on crutches they moved like they were on a mission and I did not want to get in their way. I tried to catch their eye and say hello - but they did not acknowledge my presence.

I thought about the Red Cross tax deduction form I had filled out and felt guilty. I left thinking - there should be more that I can do.

I was thinking that you could add the Walter Reed web page as a link on your Blog -there is a button at the top for donations.

And so I have. Through that link one can donate to various organizations that support soldiers and their families such as the American Red Cross and Fisher House.

And now all the readers have a real good idea why I hold on to a friend like Dave.

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