On the 09.05.2013 Soldiers Angels`here in Germany
offer a German Dinner at Landstuhl Fisher House.
The Dinner was sponsered by Astrid Clauss, Willie and Rudi Aufmkolk.
Tom, Sal, Claudia. Bella, Regina and Ulrike helped us to prepare the dinner
and over 50 soldiers met us and enjoyed the german food.
photo by Willie
German and american friendship means a lot for us!
So we are proud to do this!
Photo by Willie
A Day at the Fisher House in Landstuhl
by Astrid Clauss and Ulrike Wheeler
Thursday, May 9th, Soldiers‘ Angels and Friends visited Landstuhl Fisher House. They held their annual spring fest, serving home cooked German Bratwurst, Schnitzel, fried potatoes, green salad and homemade cakes.
Young volunteers stood ready at Fisher House to lend us a helping hand throughout the day. They were busy at the BBQ and in the kitchen. A big Thank-you goes out to them!
Regina joined the Angels, as always, taking pictures of the day (see enclosed). Bella needs to be mentioned and she deserves a huge shout-out and not only for her helping in the kitchen, cutting up vegetables and but also later in the hospital handing out little teddy bears to the young patients there while we went to the wards.
Everybody had done an outstanding job again in preparing for the day, Astrid brought her famous cakes with her, Willie and Rudi had spent the day prior in their kitchen fixing the Schnitzel, red cabbage and salads. Ulrike did her usual traveling from Berlin.
We all came together with that one common goal: to make this a happy day for patients and their families and the medical staff at Fisher House and the hospital.
Arriving at Fisher House we were greeted by our good friends Vivian Wilson and Doria Rey. It was so good, to see them waiting for us. The motto of Fisher House “A home away from home” means the same to us. We felt at home.
We are a good experienced team and everyone knows what to do, so no one has to give orders. Rudi and Sal were our chefs in the kitchen, baking fresh pretzels and preparing fried potatoes and German schnitzels. Claudia, Bella and Astrid chopped the vegetables for the salad, while Willie and Regina decorated the dining room. Ulrike and some volunteers took responsibility for heating the red cabbage and went over to the kitchen at Fisher House 1. Well-organized teamwork!
When we were ready Ulrike went over to USO and MTD for inviting our guests. Because of some of the staff there could not join us at the Fisher House, she took some Schnitzels, Bratwurst and other delicious food with her and “served the meal” right there at MTD’s counter. What a surprise, Josh, a good friend throughout the last years, stood in front of us and said hello. He is an outstanding Army soldier working in the hospital and making the life of the wounded warriors a little bit easier.
During the afternoon it was a come and go nevertheless we had time for a little talk with our guests, the Fisher House staff and our volunteers. They did a great job throughout the afternoon. Thanks to everyone for helping us!
After serving the meal we visited the hospital. From the outside there was no difference. But you can’t help but notice changes at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center and Fisher House as well. You see less wounded warriors in the hospital and therefore less family members at Fisher House.
Security in and around the installation is no longer as tight as it has been for many years. For the first time we’ve been able to access the hospital on our own, walk down to 4-corners and ask if an announcement concerning the cook-out was possible. Entering the hospital through the Emergency Area is no longer prohibited. We hope it’s a sign, that the security situation is stable.
One can tell the war in Afghanistan is winding down, which leaves us with the question how much longer our visits will be needed and what we can do to continue supporting our American friends in Landstuhl.
At the end of the day Vivian Wilson and Doria Grey gave us a great Good-bye with a certificate of appreciation for everyone and – as a surprise – we received a “Gold Medal”.
What a beautiful idea! Thank you to both of you!
This was a wonderful closing of a great day.
It was a pleasure and an honor standing alongside with you serving the military men and women and their loved ones.
Soldiers’ Angels bring necessities, cheer to recovering war wounded By Karl Weisel HANAU, Germany (Army News Service, July 6, 2006) – Coping with the carnage of war is challenging in the best of circumstances. Arriving at a hospital in a foreign land weak, injured and separated from one’s friends or fellow Soldiers only increases the trauma.
Members of the Soldiers’ Angels make it their mission to help service members being treated for injuries suffered in Iraq and Afghanistan at the Army’s Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, as well as other military hospitals. They offer friendship, visits and donations ranging from clothes to backpacks.
Founded by Patti Patton-Bader, the mother of a Soldier who had deployed to Iraq, Soldiers’ Angels attracts support from people from all over the world who are interested in helping American service members, according to Wilhelmine Aufmkolk, a long-time member of the Wiesbaden Kontakt Club and supporter of the Soldiers’ Angels organization.
“There are about 40,000 people involved, with about 60 people in Europe, who regularly support Soldiers’ Angels,” she said. “In 2004 we realized there was an extreme need for backpacks, underwear, hygiene items, something to read, homemade blankets – anything to make the Soldiers’ lives easier when recovering in the hospital.”
Aufmkolk and her husband, Rudi, both German citizens, got involved with Soldiers’ Angels after an American friend from Wiesbaden deployed to Iraq in 2003.
“We began by sending packages to Soldiers in Iraq. There was a program where you could adopt a Soldier. At that time it was much different in Iraq. Soldiers didn’t have much,” she said.
In 2003, they had a chance to visit the Landstuhl hospital. There they discovered the Soldiers’ Angels organization, a non-profit, volunteer organization whose mission is to provide aid and comfort to service members and their families.
Through Soldiers’ Angels and Fisher House, Aufmkolk was able to regularly take items to the hospital and Kaiserslautern’s Kleber Kaserne, where service members recover from injuries suffered in Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom.
“The impression I got was that they were happy that someone was there in Germany to care about them. One could see from their faces a sense of relief that someone besides the doctors and nurses came to visit and show concern,” said Aufmkolk.
“In 2004 we met a man who had lost a leg and was in a wheelchair. He took the gift we had brought, but he wouldn’t look at me, as if he were embarrassed about his injury,” she said. “I ran into him again later in the Landstuhl hospital and invited him to have a cup of coffee with me. After talking for a little while his face finally opened up, and it was as if he came back to life. It’s the small things, like conversation and someone showing he or she cares, that make a difference.”
“Quite often troops are flown here right off the battlefield and arrive clothed only in the skin they were born in,” said Maj. Douglas J. Harvey, senior Army National Guard adviser at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. “The items that Willie (Aufmkolk) provides are a visible show of appreciation for their efforts to advance the cause of freedom in the world.
“The backpacks allow newly arrived patients to clean up and get changed and to feel more comfortable and human again,” he said, adding that members of the Soldier’s Angels also arrive with Christmas stockings during the holidays, help the service members write letters home and provide other motivational support.
“She and her organization provide an absolutely vital service in the process of changing a wounded warrior from aerial cargo to valued hero – a contribution that speeds healing and increases retention,” said Harvey. “All Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines benefit from the generosity of the folks back home and the efforts of Soldiers’ Angels.”
Aufmkolk said her interest in German-American friendship is part of what inspires her participation with Soldiers’ Angels.
“I think it’s great to help our friends. If it wasn’t for what the Americans did in Germany after World War II, we wouldn’t be able to live the way we do today. The Americans brought us freedom and they helped us to rebuild our country,” she said.
For more information about the work of Soldiers’ Angels or to get involved visit www.soldiersangels.org. (Editor’s note: Karl Weisel is editor for the Herald Union in Hessen, Germany.)
Wilhelmine Aufmkolk came to the founder of Soldiers Angels` Patti Bader in April of 2003 at the very beginning of the Iraq Liberation and has stood side by side with her and all the Angels working tirelessly to help our boots on the ground. Willie as we call her not only sends many packages to our deployed heroes but she visits and brings gifts to the wounded in Landstuhl. Whenever there is a project to help a soldier standing for freedom in ANY country Willie is right there to lend a helping hand.. It is an honor to stand with Wilhelmine Aufmkolk. - Patti Bader Soldiers Angels Staff