***image1***“Seven months ago, General Bell and I asked what could we do to show our appreciation to the staff at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center,” said Brig. Gen. Elder Granger, commanding general of Europe Regional Medical Command.
The answer came in the form of a large, framed picture, which was presented March 2 to LRMC by Gen. B.B. Bell, U.S. Army Europe commander. The presentation, held at LRMC’s Heaton Auditorium, was a spirit lifter for the 150 Soldiers and civilians in attendance.
The token of appreciation featured several photos of LRMC staff tending to patients, command coins and a written message from the general. To hear General Bell tell it, the gift was just a small offering for a mounting debt.
“You all have saved countless lives and made suffering much more bearable,” he said.
“It’s incalculable to put a price tag on it. You turn tragedy into hope, hope into opportunity and opportunity into success.”
This was the first time that both General Bell and U.S. Army Europe Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Gravens visited LRMC together. They arrived, had lunch in the dining facility, presented the gift and visited patients and staff in various wards.
“I think it’s important to come here and express my appreciation to these Soldiers for their service to our nation,” said Command Sergeant Major Gravens. “Coming here and seeing these patients and staff spurs me on to be a better sergeant major and take better care of our Soldiers and their families.”
The two Soldiers visited many patients, handing out command coins, shaking hands, listening to stories and with one patient, broke into an old Army unit song.
As General Bell prepared to exit a wounded Soldier’s room, he even had some advice for the attending surgeon.
“Fix his knee,” he said. “Fix his leg, and whatever it was ya’ll were talking quiet about, fix that too.”
The command team, which spent the morning reading to first and second grade students at Mannheim before arriving at LRMC, said it was hard to decide which was more enjoyable — speaking to patients or reading to small children.
“I don’t know what I enjoyed more,” said General Bell as he prepared to enter his car to depart. “Reading to first and second graders or coming here to visit you all. Heck, they were both great.”