Card Writer Spotlight:
Teacher Joyce enclosed the following note with wonderful work produced by her students.
"Enclosed are some cards my 8th graders wrote for some of the wounded Marines. A few of these students struggle with their writing and it helps to write for a real purpose. We are a very small, rural school. My son is in the Marine Corps and my son-in-law is in the Army. It has been my experience that school children appreciate our military and want to express that. Thank you for providing them a way to do it. May all our wounded Marines find healing and peace."
Thank you Joyce. Your students provided comforting and healing wishes to our wounded.....just what the doctor ordered!
Address for Cards
Marine's Name & Co.
P.O. Box 1115
Operation PAL™ provides support - through prayers and letters from the general public - to Marines and Corpsmen who have been injured or become ill while serving in combat zones.
Operation PAL™ encourages support of our wounded warriors in communities throughout the United States.
We're so glad you joined us for this issue of Operation PAL™ News, and we're grateful for your involvement in this important outreach program.
During this very special, family-focused time, we at OperationPAL send you the very best Season's Greetings. We hope your loved ones are close, safe and well. Military life does not always allow for these things, especially at the same time, but we all look forward to the day when everyone is brought together again, and we make do until then.
All of us at OperationPAL are thankful for the thoughts and prayers you've sent all year to our Wounded Warriors. You are an integral part in these recoveries, as you will read below.
Happy Holidays and Semper Family,
LCpl. Joey 3/6 Lima Co.
LCpl. Joey was wounded by an IED in Afghanistan in May 2010. His injuries were extensive and ranged from head to toe. Joey's Dad has provided a summary of the past 6 months of Joey's recovery and he requested we share parts of it with you.
"November 22, 2010: "If I did not copy all of you who made the journey with me I would be remiss. Thank you. On that fateful Wednesday in May, I received a telephone call from Marine Headquarters in Quantico, VA. My son, then PFC Joseph, had been severely wounded by an IED in Afghanistan. From the time of that first call and through many more the next several days I wanted to immediately fly to Germany where my son would be medevaced to; thankfully Marine Headquarters advised me not to do so for many valid reasons.
On Sunday, after word of my son potentially arriving stateside, I decided I must go and did just that. The drive was hellish and upon arrival, despite having served 10 years active duty (Army; sorry Marines) I felt as if I had entered onto a facility unknown to me; so foreign.
When late that evening word came that indeed my son would arrive I was in a sorry state. To the rescue came a USMC Staff Sergeant. Without her I doubt I could have made it through that fateful night. When the huge vehicle arrived bringing what we were told were 4 wounded warriors, gathered families awaited as the offloading began. immediately with the first wounded warrior to be unloaded it seemed impossible to determine if that was your loved one. Surrounded by so many attendants, hooked up to so many medical devices and heavily bandaged it added to the panic of trying to determine if this was your loved one. The Staff Sergeant took me aside and said my son would be the last one. As I watched each warrior be offloaded I cried with and for each family.
Thinking of that night still brings me to tears. The Staff Sergeant personally made sure I was brought as close to my son as possible when he was offloaded and brought with the team handling him to the Intensive Care Unit. Seeing my son that night I felt there would be no tomorrow. The sight is indelibly etched in my mind forever. The attention he and other wounded warriors received was amazing and heartwarming.
After several more hours doctors and staff told me I should get some sleep as he would not know I was there or anything for some time. I went to the nearby Navy Lodge where Marine Headquarters had reserved a room for me and by 5:00 A.M. I was back at my son's bedside. Now I was getting a closer view without so many medical devices and innumerable staff surrounding him. His face was so swollen as were many parts of his body but I was told he had not lost any limbs. This was perhaps my first bit of peace as small as it was because I had been told he suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). His eyes, also so swollen were now opening and still being constantly monitored by many he began to attempt to mouth some words. In relatively short time with doctors on hand he mouthed words that only he and I knew the real meaning of. He asked me "What are you doing here?"
He was moved from the Intensive Care Unit to what will forever affectionately be "5E", the ward. It was there that his recovery took step number 2 and with so many, many wonderful medical personnel and civilian staff our entire family felt at home and in peace thanks to extraordinary care. On many trips back to the hospital since leaving I always return to "5E" as that is home base.
In mid June despite many reservations my son was transferred to a VA Poly trauma Center, where step 3 of my son's recovery went into what in hindsight was high gear. The Medical Director was a true hands on professional and impressed the entire family and even later gave my son his first haircut in months with clippers brought from home. As with each step of this journey there are so many, many people I want to thank and hopefully you all know that. This facility as it is officially labeled "2B" will always be "2B or Not To Be" to me because it was here that doctors termed my son's traumatic Brain Injury recovery MIRACULOUS. When it came time to depart "2B" to go home on convalescent leave it was hard to leave such a safe and trusted environment.
Since then while being home and receiving therapy at locally, we have had to make numerous journeys back to the first hospital for surgeries and follow up care. We are now looking at what we hope will be the last surgery in a month or two.
The purpose for this note is to thank each and every person and to ask each of you to print this in your office or locale to thank all within because each wounded warrior's progress is truly a team effort. I did not omit or forget anyone on purpose because you will all always be special to me for helping to make my son whole!
This total team effort could not be possible without the Marine Liaison Staff. They are truly a Godsend and I say this from discussions with so many, many Marine families I have met and come to know since I first arrived on May 23, 2010.
Now after capturing the attention of all who withstood my "few words" I am truly THANKFUL as we approach Thanksgiving and the Holidays. I have always tried to believe "my glass is half full and not half empty" and as such I try to be thankful for what I have rather than what I do not have. I now have all of you to thank in many varied ways for the success of my son's recovery to date.
May God bless each of you."
We notice Joey's dad says "then PFC" so Joey was promoted to LCpl. We congratulate you, Joey, and we will send our letters to the Lance Corporal from now on!
Make his day and send a card or letter to:
LCpl Joey 3/6 Lima
P.O. Box 1115
Columbia, Missouri 65205
Matt 1/6 and Aaron 1/5 Say Thanks
Former Participant Highlight
Operation PAL™ sends cards and letters until they are no longer needed, and we often hear from the Warriors after they request to be taken off of our list.
Matt 1/6, who had been on the list since February 2010, was removed from the active list recently and we wanted to share portions of his note with you:
"My name is CPL Matt and I was shot in Afghanistan back in Feb of this year. I have been recieving packages of letters from you and I can't begin to describe how important all of the letters from across the country have meant to me. The letters have definitely carried me a long way and I still thoroughly enjoy reading them and reply to as many as possible. I have come a long way but I'm not completely recovered. I have to get another surgery and hopefully that does the trick. I just want to get to a level where I can get out and get a job, or fixed and deploy again with my battalion next year. I love the letters but I know there are a lot of guys out there who are in situations where a pick me up would do them better than I right now. I appreciate all you have done and all the families that support us. It lets us know this isn't for nothing. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart."
Matt, we hope the next surgery is your last, and we hope that whatever lies in your future makes you happy!
Aaron 1/5, who has been on our list since August 2009, is being removed from our list per his Mom's request, and we'd like to share her words with you:
Kim says: "I am e-mailing you with an awesome update on Aaron. The pictures I have sent you are one of him when he was in the hospital, the other was taken in July of 2010 and the third was taken in Afghanistan before he was wounded. He is back full time with his Unit and the cancer discovered while he was recovering is still gone. I want to thank you for all of the letters and the support from everyone. I hope that you will be able to use one of these and put a face to Aaron's profile. I will never forget the support from Marine Parents. Aaron will deploy in early Spring and is ready to get back to supporting his buddies."
Aaron, we wish you well and will stop sending letters, but we will continue to pray for your safety as you deploy again.
Thank you so very much for remembering our wounded and ill warriors when you write and pray. Your kindness is most appreciated.