By Maria Gallegos
Who knew sharing thoughts about a book with complete strangers would lead to a trip to the Brooke Army Medical Center Fisher House?
That's what happened to seven women who connected through Facebook and met to volunteer at the BAMC Fisher House Nov. 1.
Della Williams, a police dispatcher from Wright City, Mo. shared her interest about volunteering at the Fisher House on Marcus Luttrell's Facebook page and seven others from across the country jumped on the idea to join her at BAMC.
Luttrell is the author of "Lone Survivor," a story about his experiences as the sole survivor of Operation Redwing, a SEAL Team reconnaissance mission along the mountainous Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
SEAL Teams are the U.S. Navy's primary special operations force and part of the Naval Special Warfare Command, as well as the maritime component of the U.S. Special Operations Command. They get their name from the environments in which they operate: sea, air and land.
A few years before coming to BAMC, Williams had read an article about the Fisher Houses accommodating wounded warriors and their Families with a place to stay while the warriors' injuries are treated at the medical center.
"Immediately after I read the story, I wanted to help," Williams said. She enlisted the help of Constance Feltner from Twin Lakes, Wis.; Jeannean Berglund, from Johnstown, Colo.; Melissa Nieves, from Cape Coral, Fla.; Donna Wilhelms, from Medford, Ore., Laurie Fairchild, from Luling, Texas, and Danielle Ginocchio, from Kew Gardens, N.Y. to make the dream come true.
Each campaigned in their home town to raise money to travel to San Antonio so they could spend time volunteering at the Fisher House.
"It has taken seven months for us to get here and it was well worth the work," Ginocchio said.
During the week the group spent at the Fisher House, they spruced up the quarters washing windows, cleaning refrigerators, landscaping yards and painting picnic tables.
Williams and the others also drove Families on errands, cooked meals for them and hosted a Halloween party.
"Everyone here is so friendly and it's nice to know our [wounded warriors] and their Families are taken care of after they are injured. I will definitely go back home and try to recruit the people I know to become volunteers and experience what I had here," Ginocchio said.
"We don't serve in the military, but we can serve in a different way," Williams said.
"Their visit showed our residents that they are appreciated and honored all across the country," said Inge Godfrey, Fisher House manager. "They provided a week's worth of [tender loving care] to our residents."
Williams and Ginocchio both agreed it will be hard to go back home, but are already planning to come back next year.
"Making this trip [to BAMC Fisher House] is my dream come true," Williams said.
"Holidays, birthdays & anniversaries have been celebrated with tears and smiles with people who truly understand what the other person is experiencing."
- Kamryn Jaroszewski