America Supports You: Volunteerism Benefits Troops Recovering at Walter Reed
By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 3, 2007 – Since operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi
Freedom began, patriotic Americans have stood at the ready, willing to
provide servicemembers with comfort and support. |
“The Defense Department is grateful for what people are doing across
the country to support our troops in all kinds of ways: visiting the
wounded, sending care packages and offering support in many other
ways,” said Allison Barber, deputy assistant secretary of defense for
public liaison and internal communications. “Volunteers matter.”
for "Comfort for America's Uniformed Services" hold up videos and games
donated by hockey fans at a Washington Capitals game at the Verizon
Center, Feb. 8, 2007. Photo by Carmen L. Gleason
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
are helping the nation’s wounded servicemembers at Walter Reed Army
Medical Center here in many ways. Becoming a volunteer is as easy as
reaching out to groups supporting the Defense Department’s America
Supports You program, which connects citizens and corporations with
military personnel and their families serving at home and abroad.
for America’s Uniformed Services” is just one of the groups sharing its
compassion with Walter Reed patients and their families. Based in
Herndon, Va., this all-volunteer organization provides entertainment
and recreation programs to Walter Reed patients 365 days a year, its
executive director said.
“Our signature program is the digital
library that we run out of Mologne House (a hotel for recovering
patients and families visiting patients). It’s like a mini-Blockbuster
(video-rental store), only no fees,” Barbara Lau said. “We loan out
DVDs, video games, gaming systems to the wounded (servicemembers) and
to their family members.”
Other programs include spa days,
which have licensed professionals come into offer massages, manicures
and hair cuts. Once a month the group holds what Lau called “massage
marathons,” which are, as the name implies, a day of free massages.
things are always over-subscribed by the soldiers and their family
members,” Lau said. “We never get through our waiting list.”
addition, Comfort for America’s Uniformed Services holds regular
picnics and Sunday brunches throughout the year. Its gift packs and
video game tournaments also are big hits. And the organization recently
started an art-therapy program for servicemembers.
this, Lau said, would be possible without the group’s volunteers. “We
could not exist without our volunteers,” she said. “I’m always in need
of volunteers. There are always slots where I can put people.”
groups working with Walter Reed patients and their families include the
Roanoke, Va.-chapter of the Wounded Warrior Project. The organization
offers many programs for wounded servicemembers recovering at Walter
Reed, including providing patient and family support.
group offers help with expenses that arise from a servicemember’s
hospitalization. Patients can take advantage of peer-mentoring
programs, seminars on coping with combat stress, and a program to help
wounded warriors find employment.
Volunteers for another
group, “Angels of Mercy,” also lend their time and talents to raising
the morale of Walter Reed’s patients and their families. Volunteers
visit patients weekly to provide clothing, comfort items and messages
of caring, according to the group’s Web site. The organization is
sponsored by American Legion Auxiliary Unit 270 in McLean, Va.
began by) … personally shopping for food and other needed items for the
families and delivered them to the Fisher Houses prior to (our) weekly
visit to the recently wounded military in the hospital wards,” said Jay
Edwards, who co-founded the group with his wife, Marian Chirichella.
"(Today) the Angels of Mercy program also sponsors special events like
holiday gift giving, Super Bowl parties, baby showers, and escorts
For more ways to volunteer in support of
the nation’s servicemembers, please visit the U.S. map on the America
Supports You Web site and click on your state.
|Military Connection's Comments:
America Supports You is a nationwide program launched by the Department of Defense to encourage American citizens and corporations to support our military men and women. The support of the American people builds and sustains the morale of servicemembers fighting to defend the American people from the tyranny of terrorism. Allison Barber is the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Liaison and Internal Communications. She encourages volunteers to visit the wounded, send care packages and help build the morale of our servicemembers in any way they can. America Supports You has over 200 grass roots member organizations. The grass root organizations can be found across the United States. America Supports You encourages citizens to become volunteers. The America Support You website has a list of all their members. Their website is: www.americasupportsyou.mil. MilitaryConnection.com is happy to support many of these wonderful groups. We provide them with space on our web site to feature their special events. We appreciate their good works. Please visit our website at www.militaryconnection.com for more information.