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Comments by YACCS
Monday, December 20, 2004

No more cards to Walter Reed, but soldiers still need stuff

no more cards

Looks like a case of doing too good a job!

Claim: Phone cards are good gifts for U.S. soldiers.

Status: Multiple:
Wounded soldiers undergoing treatment at Walter Reed are in desperate need of long distance phone cards: False.

Wounded soldiers undergoing treatment at Walter Reed need lots of other small items you could be sending them: False.

Soldiers serving abroad and stateside really appreciate the gift of long distance phone cards: True.

Origins: This is yet another example of a request that got out of hand.

In early November 2004, a version of the request quoted abov e began to be circulated on the Internet. Though at one time long distance calling cards might have been the "number ONE request" of soldiers lying wounded at the Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, DC, since the advent of the e-mail pleading for them, the Medical Family Assistance Center at that treatment center has received thousands of them, which amounts to far, far more than the patients recuperating there can use at the moment.

We contacted the folks at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center to inquire about the much-forwarded request for phone cards for injured soldiers. According to the harried young man who answered the phone, they ask those wishing to donate such items to hold off until March 2005 because they already have far more than they need. One of our readers who made a similar call days earlier was told they had been "well blessed" with phone cards and were having trouble using them before they expired.

We next contacted the American Red Cross office at the Walte r Reed Army Medical Center to ask what they knew about the request for phone cards. The equally harried person there con firmed what Walter Reed had said - the facility had received thousands of such cards and was asking the public to please not send any more at this time. Our further inquiry as to w hat sorts of other things wounded soldiers recuperating ther e would like to receive was met with the news that the patie nts had everything they needed and the Red Cross was asking folks to please not send anything more at this time and to check back with them no earlier than January 2005 regarding further beneficences.

The Red Cross office at Walter Reed still welcomes cash donations, but on the understanding that such funds can be used for the benefit of all soldiers, not just the ones being tre ated at Walter Reed. Those wishing to make such gifts are as ked to mail their checks to: American Red Cross, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, 6900 Georgia Avenue NW, Building 2, 3rd Floor, Room 3E05, Washington, DC, 20307.

Those of altruistic bent who still feel a need to do something for soldiers this holiday season should examine the varie ty of programs offered under the Stars and Stripes link. That the wounded soldiers undergoing treatment at Walter Reed do not at this time need phone cards does not mean thousands of others who serve in the American armed force s wouldn't greatly appreciate whatever benevolences the altruistic were moved to direct their way

While I neither like nor partuclarly trust snopes politically, they're wingnuts, I'd take their word for this. There are numerous other charities to help soldiers, wounded and deployed. Of course, the most selfless thing is to volunteer at a military hospital or VA. Short of that, hit the link.

What I don't like about the Snopes posting is that they make it seem as if the phonecard thing was unwarranted. Instead, what it shows is the decency and honesty of many Americans, who when asked gave without reservation. The fact that Walter Reed is flooded with phone cards is a good thing.

Oh yeah, when you hit the Stars and Stripes link, you will be bewildered at the kinds of things our soldiers need. Candy? Ok. Red Bull, Ok. Kevlar vests and air conditioners? Not ok.

posted by Steve @ 5:18:00 PM

5:18:00 PM

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