May 10, 2006

AL ASAD Air Base, Iraq

Many service members deployed to a combat zone receivewounds and injuries that require medical attentionfrom Al Asad Surgical. Unfortunately, the doctors andnurses are forced to cut the uniforms off of theseinjured men and women, thereby causing them to loseone of their very limited pieces of clothing. One manwanted to help.

Larry Murray, a video storage wide area networktechnician with DataPath Inc., wanted to ensure thatthe service members who are tended to are comfortableand are not left with nothing to wear.

"One evening I went to the base theater to catch amovie and there were a couple of Marines sitting infront of me," said Murray. "It was obvious that theyhad suffered combat wounds. One was on crutches theother was limping along painfully. During the NationalAnthem, these two wounded troops struggled to stand atattention when they easily could have just sat there.It dawned on me that I should go by the local hospitalto see if they needed anything."

The next day Murray and a co-worker, John Whitney,visited the hospital and stopped by the nurse'sstation. There they learned when wounded troops arebrought in, their uniforms are usually cut off ofthem.

"These injured men and women were coming in and losingthe only piece of clothing they had with them," saidMurray, who is also a technical sergeant for theGeorgia Air National Guard. "The hospital was inimmediate need of clothing supplies. (Whitney) and Ialso noticed there was a large television but no DVDplayer."

According to Murray, he and Whitney went to the postexchange to purchase clothing to stock the near emptyshelves at the hospital.

"We purchased shirts and clothes to help hold thehospital over until there was a more permanentsolution," said Murray. "(Whitney) spent over $150 outof his pocket that day just on movies. He also boughta lot of clothes for the service members, too."

According to Whitney, knowing that service membersneeded help touched him and made him want to donate."(Murray's) story of the Marines in the base theatermade me realize that I had not done enough to helpout,

" said Whitney, a satellite engineer assigned to4th Infantry Division, Camp Liberty, Iraq. "TheseMarines are young. A lot of them are far from home forthe first time. They are here willingly, risking theirlives to help out. If this is not a worthy cause, thenwhat is?"

Murray then contacted friends and family in the UnitedStates and asked them for assistance. He also askedhis guard unit to help in stocking the shelves at AlAsad Surgical."We heard about the demand through Lee Carson, one ofour commercial sales managers, who is in the GeorgiaAir National Guard with Larry Murray,

" said StephaniePlumecocq, advertising manager for Glock, a pistolmanufacturer. "After (Carson) approached our vicepresidents with the idea to donate, I received ane-mail saying to do whatever is necessary to help outand to send whatever they need."

Glock donated T-shirts and coffee mugs to make theservice members here more comfortable. They also paidto mail 12 large boxes filled with items collectedfrom the employees of Glock and their families.

Murray did not just look to high-end businesses forassistance. He also called some of his friends.

"(Murray) began to send requests and pleas to supportour forward deployed troops and the base hospital atAl Asad," said John M. Cowart, treasurer for U.S.Military Veterans Motorcycle Club, Atlanta Chapter."We were all compelled to help. We are all priorservice, so we know how hard it is being away fromeverything and being injured on top of it. We had tohelp."

Other organizations were just as enthusiastic todonate to the cause. According to Susan A. Parris,operations manager for Pine State MortgageCorporation, the people in the United States are happyto assist deployed service members in any waypossible.

"America loves all of our service members," saidParris, Troop Drive coordinator for U.S. VeteransMotorcycle Club, Atlanta Chapter. "They are ourgrandfathers, grandmothers, fathers, mothers,husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts,nephews, and cousins. They all make up our family; ourAmerica."

Murray was able to get many different companies andorganizations together to help fulfill the needs of AlAsad Surgical. Organizations like Woodstock MiddleSchool, Boy Scout troops, motorcycle dealerships andmotorcycle bars donated something to assist theservice members deployed to the Al Anbar Province. Theitems received also varied. Wounded service membersreceived books, clothing, home baked goods, hygienegear, stuffed animals, movies, and other snacks andsupplies.

Minutes before traveling home after a 12-month tourwith DataPath, Murray said, "I'm not sure how manypeople I have helped, but if it made one woundedperson smile for a minute and let them know that theyare appreciated, it was certainly worth the efforts ofall the people back home."

Photos included with story:Larry Murray poses with a mailbox at Al Asad, Iraq,May 4.

* Murray, a civilian employee and technical sergeantfor the Georgia Air National Guard, sent requests tofriends, family and co-workers asking for donations tohelp comfort injured service members at Al AsadSurgical. Murray is a video storage wide area networktechnician with DataPath Inc., and a native ofAtlanta, Ga.

Photo's by: Lance Cpl. Brian J. HolloranService members at the hospital surgical facilityholding up t-shirts and CD's received.

United States Marines Wed, 10 May 2006 6:51 AM PDTAL ASAD, Iraq (May 10, 2006) -- Many service members deployed to a combat zone receive wounds and injuries that require medical attention from Al Asad Surgical.


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