Military spouses head clothing drive for servicemembers at Landstuhl
Since the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Landstuhl Army Medical Center in Germany has received 7,880 injured or sick servicemembers from the front.
“We got 56 in today,” Col. David McLean, the hospital’s senior chaplain, said Wednesday. “There’s no telling how many we’ll get in tomorrow or the day after.”
Troops injured in battle often leave the war zone before their personal belongings can be retrieved, so they arrive at Landstuhl without a stitch of regular clothing. The military provides the injured and sick with a $250 AAFES voucher, but not everyone can shop. Donated clothes and other goods are viewed as temporary but necessary items.
With that in mind, a pair of military spouses from Wiesbaden is coordinating with the Red Cross to stage a clothing drive at their local Army and Air Force Exchange Service this weekend.
Jennifer Kodalen and Lisa Clevenger, whose husbands are assigned to the 3rd Corps Support Command, refer to their effort as “Operation Wounded Warrior.”
“We’re hoping other communities catch on,” Clevenger said of the effort. “It’ll continue as long as the need is there.”
Donations have been pouring into Landstuhl since the start of the war, McLean said. The hospital is appreciative, he added, but now is primarily interested in new or unworn articles of clothing. Used jackets or coats are the principal exception because of the cost and coming winter.
Kodalen said they are also accepting blue jeans, providing they are in good shape. The Red Cross told her to also accept new or used travel, gym or book bags.
In particular, however, the relief agency is looking for new items such as shoes, sweats, T-shirts, socks, underwear and sports bras. Cash donations are also welcomed.
The Wiesbaden fund-raising effort will correspond with the operating hours of the post exchange at Hainerberg Casern from Friday through Sunday. Normal operating hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., though this Saturday the store is holding a special sale that will keep it open until midnight.