BLACKBERRY HILL QUILTS

Subtitle

Why I Make Quilts For Soldiers and Those Hurt By War

 

 

Our Kids are at war. That's Why.

What happens to a wounded soldier after he leaves the field?  Where does he go?  Who takes care of him?  Welcome to his world.  These are some photos to take you there.  Please pray before entering and upon leaving.

A wounded soldier is often evacuated to the Air Force Theatre Hospital at Balad Air Base north of Baghdad.  This base often comes under attack.  They may then be evacuated to a military hospital in Landstuhn Germany.  This is where they usually connect with a family member who has been flown there from the U.S. by the military. They are stabilized as quickly as possible and flown to a military hospital in the United States.  Some of them require years of treatment and their families give up everything they have including homes and jobs to move to where they can be near their children.

I don't know....a quilt doesn't seem to do much to make up for any of that but as one 25 year veteran told me..."you ship that quilt out Jo Ellen...they need to know someone cares."  His own son was recently back from Iraq and having many problems associated with the war.

This is a glimpse into their world.  Enter at your own risk because you will probably never be the same again.

 

 

            

In the cargohold of a C-17 aircraft, soldiers treated at the Air Force theater Hospital at Balad Air Base, north of Baghdad, await evacuation to a military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany. This was during an attack on the base.  Red lights indicate "contingency emergency."


       

A C-17 cargo plane on the Tarmac at Balad Air Base.  To the right is a school bus type vehicle which contains stacked gurneys with wounded soldiers.

 

     

                                Soldiers wheel a patient from the helipad into Balad Hospital.


            

                            The doctors are often traumatized by what they do every day also.

 

         
           Marine Cpl. Matt Piano awaits medical evacuation from Balad Air Base, Iraq.


           

         Balad Hospital averages over 600 patients a year and over 500 operations. (2004 stats.)



                           

Lt. Col. Mike Eppinger, doctor at Balad Hosp., watches a patient get treated in the E.R.

"These kids are heroes." (Col Joseph Brennan head and neck surgeon).  Somebody's got to pay the price and these kids are paying the price."



          

First Sgt. Robert Stratton, 35, visits with an injured National Guard soldier.  The soldier's supply mission was mortared.


            

                                     A military surgeon carries away a soldier's boot.


                                      

            Lance Cpl. Wesley Ross in an airplane's portable i.c.u. en route from Germany to the U.S.


           

   Lance Cpl Kyle Blumenstock, 19, suffered eye injuries and hearing loss from the blast of an improvised explosive device.

 

           

                     This picture will haunt me for the rest of my live....only 19 years old.......

 

           

                                                          On the bus........wating to be evacuated to Germany.


               

                                       A nurse wipes blood from the face of a patient.


              

A member of the combat hospital's critical care air transport team, which is responsible for critically ill and injured patients during flights out of Iraq, prepares for departure.


                

         In the background of this picture is a mother.  She is Renette Ross and is aboard a medical evacuation flight from Germany to Andrews Air Force Base near Washington.  She watches over her son, Lance Cpl Wesley Ross, age 20, who suffered a brain injury during a November assault on Falluja.


              

The gurney of Sgt. Andrew Butterworth, age 25, whose leg was amputated following a rocket propelled grenade attack on his Bradley Fighting Vehicle near Kirkuk.  Remember your kid's first steps?


                   

              Soldiers stacked on liters aboard a converted school bus, awaiting a flight   to Germany. Rememember your kid's first ride on a school bus?

                                                       

 

                                          Our kids........remember when you used to tuck your child in for the night?

             

Pfc. Justin Hileman, 25 a National Guardsman, following treatment for injuries he suffered from the blast of an improvised explosive device.



My name is Jo Ellen Maring and I make quilts for those hurt by war.  I can't really remember much time in my life when our country wasn't as war or threatened by war.  I'm from the Cuban missal crisis generation, Vietnam war generation, Gulf war generation...you get the picture.  When I first started making quilts I was healthy.  This past August, 2009, I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer.  Since then I've had my own amputation (breast), am facing another one and am battling for my health with one year and two months of chemo left to go.  Maybe I know a little more about what suffering is like but let's face it, this is nothing compared to what our kids are going through.  You want to know what keeps me going?  Just look at the pictures.  Still at war.  Still quilting. 

December, 2009