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Young patients from the Bamberg, Germany, clinic play with toys donated by members of the Warner Barracks military community on Aug. 22 as pediatrics chief Karl Heinz Deeg, left, and the Bamberg health clinic commander, Maj. Gary Wallace, look on.

Young patients from the Bamberg, Germany, clinic play with toys donated by members of the Warner Barracks military community on Aug. 22 as pediatrics chief Karl Heinz Deeg, left, and the Bamberg health clinic commander, Maj. Gary Wallace, look on. (Courtesy of U.S. Army)

BAMBERG, Germany — Efforts by staff members at the Bamberg Army health clinic will make stays at the local Bamberg clinic a little brighter for American and German children.

The clinic, known as a klinikum in German, had no toys and only German-language books for the pediatrics ward patients. That did little to ease the dreariness of a hospital visit for the 240 American children who receive care there each year, according to Danielle Sorenson from the Bamberg Army health clinic.

Sorenson, who is the clinic commander’s secretary, worked with patient liaisons Manfred Mader and Kay Booth to coordinate a toy drive and get approval from the hospital’s pediatrics chief, Karl Heinz Deeg.

For 10 days starting July 21, members of the Warner Barracks community could drop off toys, games and English-language books in the Army health clinic’s library, Sorenson said.

“This started when our former patient liaison officer [Mader] came and asked if we could get a few English-language books for the American children to read at the klinikum,” Sorenson said.

Sorenson immediately thought bigger. She posted fliers announcing a toy drive at the U.S. clinic and at Army Community Service, and set up collection bins.

Sorenson began storing the collected toys and books in a hallway of the clinic near the commander’s office, but as the collection grew, items had to be stored in one of the clinic’s exam rooms instead, she said.

“The community really made this a success,” she said.

In all, the toy drive brought in 20 stuffed animals and dolls, 20 games and puzzles and 350 English-language books for the pediatrics ward.

The clinic staff presented the items to Deeg at the klinikum on Aug. 22.

“On behalf of the children of the pediatrics clinic, I would like to thank the [Bamberg health clinic],” Deeg said in a translated statement from the presentation. “This will mean a great deal to the children.”

“[The staff] wanted to thank Professor Deeg and his staff for all of the great care they provide to our American children,” said Maj. Gary Wallace, clinic commander. “This is one way we could do that.”

It certainly didn’t take long for the patients in the pediatric ward to discover the toys.

“The day of the presentation, children were coming down and digging through the toys,” Sorenson said. “I think this will really help the kids out during their hospital visits.”

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