Operation Helping Hand 18 OCT
Martha, I am immensely pleased with the outcome of your visit to Operation Helping Hand in the Haley VA Medical Center in Tampa last Thursday night. I hope you will come again to chat with some of the injured troops and their young families. The few I spoke with that evening had the usual stories of being on patrol in the wrong place (Iraq) at the wrong time, yet no bitterness for their life-altering consequences.
Two new injured troops arrived the same night while you, Jim, Greg, Jane and I were there...one was seriously injured in Iraq just four days before! Remember Haley is one of four designated poly-trauma centers in the VA hospital network.
When talking with these young troops, I am typically spellbound by their courage to go in harm's way in the first place; with their displayed grace to accept their future role in life (wherever that takes them), they emerge as extraordinary Americans. What they have done is protect you and me back home, basking in the freedom their service has afforded us. We must do our best to help their transition back to a meaningful life for themselves and their families,...if that is possible.
Your interest in them makes you an angel in their lives, and makes them heroes in all our lives.
Good morning Admiral Collins,
I wanted to thank you again for having me, Jim and Greg join you at the Helping Hands dinner in Tampa last Thursday evening. As you no doubt suspected would happen, we were all extremely moved and inspired by both the servicemen and women as well as the dedicated doctors, staff and volunteers. We are truly looking forward to a visit by Drs. Scott and Cupolo and an opportunity to see how we might make a small contribution to the care of these brave folks.
Thank you so very much,
/s/ LeRoy Collins, Jr.