Wrestling merchandise for downrange Soldiers

By Spc. Todd Goodman
Landstuhl Regional Medical Center

***image1***Donations to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center for injured patients do more than put a shirt on a back or a compact disc player in someone’s hand – they boost troop morale.
Since late July, the LRMC chaplains office has received a smorgasbord of gifts, ranging from electric razors and rocking chairs to a $25,000 check.
“We’re not short on things, that’s for sure,” said Col. Eric Holmstrom, chief of the Department of Ministry and Pastoral Care. “Our biggest challenge is managing what we receive.”
No matter what is received, if it’s not used here, it’ll be used somewhere.
“Donations which cannot easily be used here, are sent to other unit ministry teams downrange for distribution,” said the colonel. “That’s really what we do. We don’t just hang on to stuff. We just try to keep a stock that allows us to respond to our particular needs.”
One item that hasn’t hung around long enough to take up space is a large box of World Wrestling Entertainment t-shirts. The shirts have been coming to LRMC on a weekly basis for several months – with no immediate end in sight. 1st Lt. Rob Biron, a nurse on Ward 14, has been handling distribution of the T-shirts. He hands them out on his days off.
He said the shirts are a tremendously popular gift for the injured warriors. Wrestlers are tough guys, and they connect well with the military tough guys who are downrange fighting for their lives every day.
“They love it,” he said. “When I give out the stuff, the Soldiers start talking about wrestling shows they’ve seen and memories they have made. They also like that a non-military company is thinking about them. It impresses them. They all say the same things.”
“It’s exceptional,” said Spc. Jackie Cox, a wheel mechanic with the Headquarters and Headquarters Company Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division. “Anything to help us out or brighten our spirits is appreciated. Most of us out here are big wrestling fans. It’s great to have someone do this for us. The fact that they think about us, well, it’s just really nice.”
Lieutenant Biron and the wounded warriors are doing something nice in return, too. A shirt from downrange has been signed by injured servicemembers and will be sent to the WWE.
“I think it’s a neat gift,” Lieutenant Biron said. “I would like to be there when they receive it.”