Monday, September 30, 2013

Quilts of Valor Delivery

The Tripler Army Medical Center (TAMC) is located in Hawaii, a short distance from Waikiki Beach.  Originally established as Tripler Hospital in 1907, it was constructed as the Army medical center after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.  TMAC is the largest Army medical treatment facility in the Pacific Basin, and the home of the Pacific Regional Medical Command, one of six geographically based posts in the US Army Medical Command.

Recently, one of our Quilts of Valor members, Maria M., and her friend, Liz V., flew to Hawaii to award quilts.  Maria is a member of the CT Quilters QOV Group here in Tampa and also a member of a Guild in Brevard, NC.  Liz is a member of the Guild in NC.  Here is Maria's first-hand account of the visit to TAMC:
A Special Report from:
Tripler Army Medical Center Honolulu, Hawaii
Posted by:  Maria M.
On Sunday, Sept 15th,  Liz V., her husband PJ V. and  I - Maria M. - arrived in Honolulu.   Upon arrival we were immediately able to pick up our Quilts of Valor which were shipped by Delta Airlines .
Thank You, Delta Airlines!
Delta Cargo Manager, Mr. Campbell, extended the courtesy again (as he did the previous year) to assist with complimentary wrapping and shipping of 4 boxes filled with 40 plus Quilts of Valor the day of our departure.
We carried 10 Quilts of Valor made by the CTQuilters QOV Group that meets at the Crafty Threads Quilt Shop in Tampa, Florida and 32+ Quilts of Valor from the Cashiers Quilt Guild, Cashiers, North Carolina.
On Monday, Liz, her husband PJ (a Marine/Navy veteran) and myself prepared for our 11 am appointment at Tripler Army Medical Center to present 11 Quilts of Valor to a group of young soldiers diagnosed with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
We were met by the Protocol Officer of Tripler Army Medical Center, Mr. Joel J. and several other coordinators/nurses of the PTSD Treatment Program.  It was Maria M.'s husband Michael M., an Army veteran, who first initiated the point of contact with the Hospital to arrange the Quilts of Valor delivery.
loading carts to bring in quilts
The presentation to these young men turned out to be very emotional since they were close to being discharged from the hospital and we had no idea what to expect since we had never delivered and presented Quilts of Valor to soldiers diagnosed with PTSD.

We displayed a great number of quilts for selection before the young men came into the room where we were set up. The young men each picked out the quilt they desired and before they went back to their rooms they chatted with all of us, gave us hugs and thanked us profusely for our time, effort and thoughtfulness. They could not believe we had traveled all the way from NC to present these "blankets" to them.  It made them feel so extra special that we cared so much about them. They were overjoyed to be able to place those "beautiful blankets" as they called them, to brighten up their hospital room and beds.

[photos have been edited to protect the
privacy of service personnel – the 
photos that follow are in no particular order
and do not necessarily track the narrative]

After they went back to their rooms and placed the quilts on their beds, some came back to share their excitement on how much their room had changed with the beautiful quilts they had picked out.  In their words, their rooms "were not so sterile now"!  They seemed to like the ones with the Eagles very much but an equal amount was picked from the colorful ones that were in the display of quilts. 

At one point, one of the young men diagnosed with severe PTSD came to me with his quilt choice, a beautiful Eagle quilt, and expressed how much he liked that one.  I wrapped the quilt around him, told him it would be his and that's when he and I hugged each other!  I held him for a few more moments since he seemed to cherish the hug then let him go.  Upon stepping back the Protocol Officer, a  nurse and a few other young men told me that this was the first time since his treatment began that he had shown any emotions and that he allowed someone to touch him.  Both Liz and  I were so touched by that, that it brought tears to our eyes! 

We left the remainder of the quilts with the Protocol Officer, since there were 12 more PTSD patients (soldiers) on a separate floor but they were interned, not allowed to come out or be visited.  Another 4 were going to another group of confined PTSD patients.  Mr. Jenkins would deliver the quilts to them later that day.  The remainder of the Quilts of Valor will go to the next incoming (2 weeks from now) PTSD Patients. 
We left the Hospital with mixed emotions and realized that there will be more and more of the PTSD patients who need treatment and therefore we would like to focus on making sure we have the PTSD patients included in our quilt deliveries in the future. 

Last year’s trip was to deliver Quilts of
Valor to Landstuhl in Germany. 

Next year’s trip will be to ..... ???
 Only time will tell !

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