More than loose change

Christine June
U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern

***image1***Churchgoers from Installation Management Agency-Europe chapels dug into
their pockets and came out with $81,357.77 for Landstuhl Fisher House.

“This is almost half of our annual donation goal,” said Kathy Gregory,
Landstuhl Fisher House manager, as she was presented with the check
July 14 at Fisher House II on Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.

Every cent of the IMA-E Chapel Donation 2006 will be used to help
servicemembers’ families who come to make Fisher House a “home away
from home” while visiting someone in the hospital, said Gregory.

“The donation today comes from the heart and from so many, that’s just
a beautiful thing,” said IMA-E Director Russell B. Hall, who is
responsible for all facets of support for Army families in Europe from
drivers’ licenses to child care to force protection. “It makes me feel
really good inside that this donation came from the hearts of all the
families throughout our communities.”

Congregations from more than 50 IMA-E chapels contributed to a
designated offering for Landstuhl Fisher Houses during May and June,
said IMA-E Chaplain (Col.) James May.

Landstuhl Fisher House I and II are less than a five-minute walk from
LRMC, the largest American hospital outside of the United States. The
first Fisher House has eight rooms and opened June 18, 2001, and the
second one opened in Dec. 4, 2002 with 11 rooms.

The yearly budget for both houses is $230,000 and $170,000 of that is the donation goal, said Gregory.

To receive a check of more than $80,000 is “just huge,” said Gregory.
“We’ve hosted more than 1,000 families so far this year. It’s been more
than 100 (families) a month,” said Gregory. “Last year was our high at
957 (families).”

Four members of the Beeson family from Flat Rock, Ind., arrived at
Fisher House II on July 10 to be with son and brother, Pfc. Stephen
Beeson, with the 10th Mountain Division, who was wounded in Afghanistan
on July 7. He is receiving specialized care at the German hospital in
Homburg, which is about a 40-minute drive from LRMC.

“He was in a lot of pain like unimaginable amount of pain,” said
Stephen’s brother, Spec. Thomas Beeson, stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C.
“When he started to wake up, he was still pretty drugged up, all he
heard was foreign (German) voices, and he went ballistic for like two
or three days.”

“Until he heard our voices,” said Stephen’s mother, Kay Beeson. “He thought he had been captured.”

Kay said she believes it was important for her son’s recovery that they
are able to be with him and the Fisher House made that possible. “There
has been a Beeson with him 24/7 since we arrived,” she said.

After the check presentation, Hall and other IMA-E officials were able
to meet with three of the four Beeson members visiting here. They were
also able to tour both facilities and learn about all the services
provided by the Landstuhl Fisher House.

In 2002, IMA-E was one of seven regional offices created as part of an
Army-wide initiative to focus management of Army installations around
the world under one organization.