27 August 2008

Iraqi burn clinic shutting down


I received this message from Jimmy in the burn clinic at CSC Scania (described in my last post) via Laurel from Books for Soldiers:

(begin quote)

Jimmy wrote:

Thank you so much for contacting me. As much as I hate to say it, the clinic is being shut down. There will be no need for donations by the end of this month.

Thank you,


(end quote)

Don't worry if you have already sent something: I'm sure at Scania, like at our base in Balad, there is a system in place by which the chaplain's office can find a needy home for donated items. If you are looking for an alternate place to help, there are many organizations you can find easily on the Internet (such as Fisher House.) Thank you so much for caring!

Not much to say tonight, got home from the hospital 'round 2300, but at least I'm home. Thinking of all the troops who aren't.


24 August 2008

73rd Cavalry volunteers tend burned Iraqi children

Hi Friends,

I recently received from a friend, Deb, this great news about US troops at CSC Scania (that's Convoy Support Center) south of Baghdad who are volunteering their time to run a clinic for Iraqis in need of medical care. These aren't people who were sent to Iraq as medical providers. Their official duty is to refuel trucks and keep them running on the convoy line running north and south through Mesopotamia. They treat up to 80 patients a day, many of them burned children. They report that they are seeing the same burns I saw so commonly: scald and oil spil burns from uncovered cooking sources in the home. They rely on donated service hours and donated supplies. If ever anyone needed a reason to be proud of our military, look no further than these troops.

Here's a video on YouTube:

and from CBS:

Here is the information provided for those who want to help:

(begin quote)

Items needed are:

Medihoney antibacterial cream
Xeroform petroleum dressings
Non-adhesive dressings
Tylenol/paracetemol (Infant,Child and Adult)
Motrin/Ibuprofen (Infant,Child and Adult)
IV line sets
Benadryl (Child and Adult)

Additional items needed are:

Flip flops/Sandals
Stuffed Animals
Crayons and Coloring Books


Mail your donations to:

Jimmy Compton
CSC Scania
APO AE 09331

For more information, send your email to :

"Thank you to all the volunteers around the world who extend their hand to help another."
And, please spread the word on this one, would you?

(end quote)

06 August 2008

Mainer: Yes, you definitely get a plug!!

Here is a message I received after writing about http://www.forgottensoldiers.org :

(Begin quote)

Mainer has left a new comment on your post "Remember Forgotten Soldiers":

OK, Chris, I have to tout/advertise an organization I belong to. It's Adopt A Platoon (adoptaplatoon.org). It's DoD approved. You can adopt an individual troop, or a unit or a platoon. You can become a penpal only if you prefer and/or have limited funds. Each adoption requires that you send a care package at least once a month and you write letters once a week- REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THEY RESPOND OR NOT. They also have campaigns throughout the year- Halloween, Christmas, July, all summer, etc.

So far I've adopted 10 individuals and 1 group of 14. It gives you a wonderful feeling to know that you are providing a touch of home to someone who is deployed. It's free to join but you do have to pass a screening because of the DoD seal of approval.

OK. That's my plug!

(End quote.)

I am happy to get news of Adopt a Platoon out because it is good work that is greatly appreciated, and I know that citizens want to do something to help. People ask me all the time, "What can I do to help?" Discovering so many different organizations of citizens who have taken the initiative to do something for soldiers has shown me that the 97.5% of our country that is civilian is deeply committed to supporting the military. People have done great things for perfect strangers out of the goodness of their own hearts.

Best wishes,


Remember Forgotten Soldiers

An old friend told me about some wonderful outreach work she had done for soldiers. I had never heard of the organization before so I want to spread the word. They are called Forgotten Soldiers Outreach, and they can be reached via http://www.forgottensoldiers.org/ .

They are active in Florida (and elsewhere) and recently won an award for the important work they are doing. I emailed Lynelle who keeps the organization going. She told me that she would love to hear from citizens here at home who would like to help, and especially from soldiers who are deployed. Soldiers can register themselves, or someone else can register a soldier from home. Either way, they will receive a monthly care package while they are deployed. Soldiers can be signed up here: http://www.forgottensoldiers.org/soldier-register_1.shtml .

Keep up your wonderful caring work, and believe me, it is appreciated!


04 August 2008

$4/gallon is worth it if you meet an outdoor humor columnist

A few weeks back, The boys and I rolled north to Mason, TX to go for a rock-climbing trail ride in the JK. Before entering the park for the weekend, we stopped at a gas station to fill the tank and our Jerry can for the ride. While I was watching the dollar dial spin faster than slot machine, and way faster than the gallon dial, a classic TJ pulled up.

When I leave Texas next year, one of the things I'm going to miss the most is the friendly, laid-back attitude of nearly everyone. Kendal is a perfect example of that. He ambled over, complimented my Jeep, and asked how I liked it. Well that's a topic that can really get me going for a while. Even our dogs got along. Mason is a small friendly town, and pretty soon I had met Kendal's wife, and we were sharing stories about our children.

Kendal is a writer, and his work has a definite Texas flair. He has been kind enough to share many of his columns with me. One he sent me this week really struck a cord with me, and he has graciously allowed me to include it here. You can find more of his work with a Google search of his name:


Hope to see you on the trail, Kendal. Without further ado, here are his words:

California or Bust (or both)
Kendal Hemphill

What happened was, my brother has to travel a lot for business and such, and he saves up his frequent flier miles. So he told his three boys that, about the time they get out of high school, he would take each of them on a father/son trip, anywhere they wanted to go. So far he’s done two of those trips, one to New York and one to Wimbledon.
Which is where I got the idea to tell my three boys the same thing. Except I don’t fly any more than I absolutely have to, on account of everyone who works in every airport I’ve ever been in hates me. Consequently I don’t have any flier miles, frequent or otherwise, saved up. So I told the boys their trips would have to be anywhere in the United States, and we would drive.
By the time you read this my oldest son, Courtland, and I will be gone on the first of those trips. He wants to see Yosemite ‘Big Dadgum Trees’ National Park, assuming it hasn’t burned all up by the time we get there. We’re driving out in the Jeep so we can do the Rubicon Trail on the way back, and swing by Grand Canyon and see the new Skywalk, and maybe drive a few of the Jeep trails in Colorado.
What I plan to do is sort of write travelogues to send back for my columns while we’re gone. Since we won’t be gone very long, it will probably only end up being one travelogue, but I guess I can finish up when we get back. Assuming we get back. You never know what will happen when you travel to a foreign country like California.
We’ve been planning this trip for some time, and saving up the money it will take. That amount keeps growing, what with the price of gas getting higher and higher every day, but I guess if it comes to it we can stop somewhere and get jobs. So there may end up being more than one travelogue after all.
As I was planning the trip, and thinking about this column, someone sent me an email that sort of made me think about how grateful I should be that I live in a country where I can just decide to make a trip like this and then do it. You can’t do that just anywhere, and the freedom we enjoy in America is really a very special thing, even though we often take it for granted.
The email contains a music video featuring a song called ‘If I Die Before You Wake,’ and it was written by Dustin Evans, Rick Tiger, and Dave Brainard, three American soldiers stationed in Iraq. It’s performed by Dustin, who sounds a lot like George Strait. The pictures in the video are of soldiers in Iraq, some of which you’ve probably already seen in other emails making the rounds.
Every American should see this video, and if you have a computer you can probably find it at either www.flashdemo.net/gallery/wake/index.htm or http://g.dwgsee.com/wake/index.htm or both.
For those without internet access here are the lyrics:

Back home now I know you’re probably sleepin’
Over here it’s the middle of the day
I finally found the time to write a letter
Sittin’ here a half a world away

I heard about all them folks protestin’
As if I really want this war
But that don’t stop me from believin’
There’s just some things worth fightin’ for

Tell everybody that I miss them
And I can’t wait to get back home
But until then I’ll serve my country
And be proud to wear this uniform

And if I die before you wake I pray the world will take
A good look at what God’s given us
That we could only understand everything is in His hands
All we need is a little faith and trust
I want you to know it ain’t too high a price to pay
If I die before you wake

While Courtland and I are enjoying the freedom to drive to California and see big trees and maybe learn to surf and gawk at the biggest hole in America, Dustin, Rick, and Dave will still be in Iraq, along with a whole bunch of other U.S. troops. It’s because of people like them that we can make this trip.
And then I realized that a lot of the money we’ve saved for the trip came from a part-time job I have. I work a few days a week for a retired Marine Gunnery Sergeant who spent 20 years serving our country, and then moved to Mason and started a construction business. Without that extra income it would have been really difficult, if not impossible, to save the cash for the California trip.
So I want to say thanks to our military for the freedom to go to the west coast, and to Gunny Chris Dyer for financing it. And Gunny, if I can get one in the Jeep, I’ll bring you back a Redwood tree . . .

Kendal Hemphill is an outdoor humor columnist, believe it or not. Write to him at PO Box 1600, Mason, Tx 76856 or jeep@verizon.net

03 August 2008

This makes me happy...

If this is possible, isn't so much of the worry and strife in this world just a silly waste?

Higher resolution here:


Also see his outtakes (love the kids!)


And learn more at:


Thanks for sending this, A.


Discovering a hidden hero

I am always amazed at the spontaneous generosity and enthusiastic volunteerism found in the people I brush shoulders with every day. Me, I'm far too lazy! I go to work, I do my best, I try to give my patients and their parents compassionate and personal attention to their ailments and worries. But then, I go home, and I collapse! If only I didn't need sleep, the many projects I would have accomplished! I have colleagues who use their precious vacation time to organize backbreaking missions to needy communities and provide medical care through great personal effort and expense. I marvel at them in wonder.

A couple of weeks ago, I discovered that yet another of my colleagues had a secret double life as a super hero. Nurse L. in the pediatric intensive care unit told me about her volunteer work helping Ugandan citizens suffering from sickle cell disease. She was inspired to help from the personal experience of a family member. The ravages of the disease in Uganda, and other African countries, goes largely unnoticed. It is a cause of many deaths, a large proportion of them children. Here too, in the United States, the disease receives less notice than some higher profile illnesses that affect fewer people.

I have known my friend L. for several years and had no idea of her good work. She has raised a significant amount of money here and abroad. Her family has donated land in Uganda for a specialized clinic. She has visited the site and inspired local personnel to staff the facility and carry out humanitarian work. I urge you to read more at their website: http://uganda-americansickle.org/ .

The heroes among us like her are this global society's salvation. She does all this while fulfilling her military duties and living the schedule of a PICU nurse, which is more demanding than mine. She inspires me to look for opportunities to reach out and help others.

Hope to see you soon!


01 August 2008

Me a Spammer?

Here's a message I got from Blogger (at first I thought it was spam):

(And I quote:)

"Hello, Your blog at: http://madeadifference.blogspot.com/ has been identified as apotential spam blog. To correct this, please request a review by filling outthe form at http://www.blogger.com/unlock-blog Your blog will be deleted within 20 days if it isn't reviewed, and you'll beunable to publish posts during this time. After we receive your request, we'llreview your blog and unlock it within two business days. If this blog doesn'tbelong to you, you don't have to do anything, and any other blogs you may havewon't be affected. We find spam by using an automated classifier. Automatic spam detection isinherently fuzzy, and occasionally a blog like yours is flagged incorrectly. Wesincerely apologize for this error. By using this kind of system, however, wecan dedicate more storage, bandwidth, and engineering resources to bloggers likeyou instead of to spammers. For more information, please see Blogger Help:http://help.blogger.com/bin/answer.py?answer=42577 Thank you for your understanding and for your help with our spam-fighting efforts.


The Blogger Team"

(End quote.)

Now I haven't been writing too much. But me, a spammer? Ugh, what an insult. As I've mentioned, my life is blissfully boring back here. Sure, I take a beating every once in a while with a couple late days in a row, but when those days are over, I go home to my family. And I am happy for that long night, and the warm wind from the dark highway blowing through the Jeep on the long 33 miles home. I am happy because I am going home. I think of so many who won't see their wives tonight.

Good night,