A Report from Palatinate Chapter member Lois Borsay, Registered Army Nurse working with the Afghan Travelers at the Ramstein Air Base.
“For nearly a week beginning 3 September, I had the privilege to work with the Afghan Travelers, as we now refer to them. The official program is now called OAW (Operation Afghan Welcome). I first volunteered in one of the airplane hangars at Ramstein Air Base (RAB) where approximately 700 travelers were living, eating & sleeping on military cots placed side-by-side in rows with no space in between the cots. We handed out Pampers in every size, individual packets of shampoo, shower gel, diaper cream, wipes, toilet paper and laundry soap. We prepared formula from an assortment of powdered formula cans in a bottle exchange program to prevent infant diarrhea. We also prepared formula for toddlers as well to ensure they were getting the most nutrition we could provide. Volunteers would take the bags of dirty bottles to clean/sanitize and return for re-issue.
After that first day, I became the head of a team of 9 from Bavaria including: a male physician, a female physician assistant (PA), 6 medics and a Registered Nurse (me). We worked 12 hour shifts in the busiest medical tent at Rhine Ordinance Barracks (ROB) on the Army side of the program. We saw over 100 cases per shift for usually minor medical issues: cough, runny nose, scrapes & cuts. We were always on the look-out for more serious cases which we would transfer to Landstuhl Medical Center for evaluation and treatment. However, we didn’t actively seek out cases because the plan was for Germany to be a short-term stop-over for 7-10 days. We set up the baby bottle exchange program there and offered Pampers and fresh fruit. The work was exhausting but fulfilling
What can Daughters to do help? There are locations near Ft Lee, VA, Camp Atterbury, IN and Ft McCoy, WI and others where large groups of Afghan travelers are being processed. They need clothing, shoes, blankets, towels, etc. DAR chapters will know where groups are being located and should reach out to the Red Cross in those communities to ascertain what is really needed at each location. Chapters may also be able, at some point, to sponsor a family. I’m unsure of how this process works, but I see that as a long-term way to ensure these families have a support system, get education, job-training and become self-sufficient.”