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Veterans Group Donates $20K in Support of Wounded Soldiers

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 30, 2004 – A late-April visit to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany prompted the "Forty and Eight" veterans group to raise $20,000 to benefit the Landstuhl Chaplain's Fund. The check was presented today during a ceremony at the Pentagon.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
William "Joe" Jamnick, national commander of the Forty and Eight veterans group, presents Deputy Chief of Army Chaplains Jerome A. Haberek a check for $20,000. The group raised the funds to benefit the Landstuhl (Germany) Chaplain's Fund. The fund is used to buy clothing and comfort items for ill or injured troops who do not qualify for a clothing allowance. Photo by Samantha L. Quigley

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Members of the Forty and Eight veterans group were surprised by two things when they visited the medical center in Germany.

The first was that morale was excellent. Regardless of the ailment, most soldiers just wanted to finish the job they had started. "Their main goal is to get back," William "Joe" Jamnick, the group's national commander, said. "Morale is just terrific."

The second was that when ill or injured troops were transferred to the facility from a combat zone, they were given a $250 clothing allowance. Those coming in from areas like Bosnia did not receive the same benefit. That spurred the group's fund-raising efforts on behalf of the Landstuhl Chaplain's Fund. The program provides clothes, comfort items and prepaid phone cards to those troops who do not qualify for the clothing allowance.

The very night of their medical center visit, the Forty and Eight voyageurs, or members, collected $400 among themselves. Wanting to put it to immediate good use, they approached the local chaplain. They were told that they should take their money home with them and speak with the Army's chief of chaplains to let him know what they were planning.

One week later, that $400 became $3,400 when Jamnick took a pie in the face during a Forty and Eight function in Pascagoula, Miss. Other local Forty and Eight groups also dug deep when Jamnick visited.

A South Carolina group donated $1,300, and a New York group came up with $1,100.

"We passed the hat an awful lot," Jamnick said. But after just three months and many individual donations, the Forty and Eight group was able to present Deputy Chief of Chaplains Brig. Gen. Jerome A. Haberek with a check for $20,000 to benefit the Landstuhl Chaplain's Fund. And Jamnick said donations were still coming in from all over.

"You've seen these young soldiers. You've seen their integrity and honesty, their devotion to duty," Haberek said as he accepted the check. "Thank you for telling them that they're not forgotten. Thank you for telling them that they are in your hearts and your minds and they are indeed America's best."

The four Forty and Eight members attending the check presentation were awarded coins on behalf of Chief of Chaplains Maj. Gen. David Hicks.

Haberek awarded his coins to the members' wives for their part in the fund- raising.

The Forty and Eight group was established in 1920 by members of the American Legion as a fun and honor society. According the group's brochure, the name comes from the French railway boxcars that could carry 40 men or eight horses to the front.

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Related Sites:
The Forty and Eight
Landstuhl Regional Medical Center
Army Chaplain Corps

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