Providing Medical Supplies to US Troops for Iraqi Civilians

Providing Medical Supplies to US Troops for Iraqi Civilians

Inspired by a CNN story "After bomb blast, wife is left to be her husband's legs (http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/meast/03/13/iraq.amputee/index.html) whereupon a woman was carrying her husband, Dupalo sought to send a few wheelchairs to the war zone to assist those caught up in warfare. Something about seeing a woman carry a man without legs moved him to act. And when a few days later, a national drug store chain then began liquidating their stores' inventories in the local area, he formed a small team to watch the stores as they were in the last days of operation and meanwhile negotiated with other closing store locations to purchase medical goods before particular items, especially wheelchairs, crutches, and walkers were sold.

The small core team of five was assisted in part when Dupalo approached a student organization ONE to assist which they did by also purchasing a few hundred dollars of heavily discounted items. Next, he searched the Internet to find further support and found it when he located Tom Deierlein and the Tom Deierlein Foundation at www.TDFoundation.org. Tom's story can be read at www.usma.edu/publicaffairs/directorscorner/07april26–parade.htm, and elsewhere, where it covers how he was wounded in Iraq and returned to the US and while undergoing a lengthy rehabilitation process, began a charity to help those in need.

Dupalo contacted Tom, both former military officers, and quickly established a trusting relationship. Tom's foundation paid for shipping over what had grown to approximately $20,000 worth of medical supplies using a mere $2,000 and negotiating deep discounts. One quirky irony was that a wheelchair discounted from $200 to $20 with a 90% discount costs $23.43 to send via APO . The shipping costs paid by Tom's Foundation amounted to approximately $1,500.

What Dupalo originally had hoped to accomplish, sending over a few wheelchairs, grew directly in proportion to the dedication as a team over a few months, far exceeding his original goal.

What follows is an e–mail from the US Army Sergeant John Miller (the same name as the elementary school Dupalo attended) that coordinated the distribution efforts in Iraq

-----Original Message-----
From: Miller, John SFC 42nd MP BDE [mailto:john.m.miller@iraq.centcom.mil]
Sent: Tuesday, August 05, 2008 1:40 AM
To: Deierlein, Tom (MBNYC SVP)
Cc: Hucks, Stephen P MAJ 42nd MP BDE; Kirschner, Adam L SGT 42nd MP BDE
Subject: RE: Medical Supplies from Las Vegas? (UNCLASSIFIED)

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE

Tom

I did receive the medical supplies, from Martin Dupalo in Las Vegas . I wasn't sure if that was your shipment or not, as I didn't find any note attached or in the boxes. I sort of figured that it was the shipment when I saw the Rite-Aid tags, though. I wrote Mr. Dupalo a note, since I didn't have an email address to send the pictures to.

The majority of the supplies were donated to the Safwan Clinic in Safwan , Iraq . Safwan is one of the two cities/towns that fall into our AO here, and it is a fairly poor area. The walkers and wheelchairs were of particular interest to the medical staff there, since they care for a number of elderly people who can use them. The children's crutches were another big hit. There are numerous children with birth defects/deformities that will benefit from them. We saved a bit of the supplies for an upcoming Cooperative Medical Exchange, again in Safwan. There is a clinic in the rural area there that we refurbished several months ago that is finally getting staffed, and we have a few doctors and other medical staff that will work along with that staff for one day to treat as many patients as we can fit in. Thanks again for the donation. Please see attached pictures. I wish I could have taken more, but the batteries in my camera died during the drop-off. I'll take more when we go to the CME and will pass those on as well.

John

Respectfully,

SFC John M. Miller
42nd MP BDE S-5 NCOIC
Task Force Bucca
Camp Bucca , Iraq
APO AE 09375
DSN 318-853-1249
SVOIP 242-5120
NIPR john.m.miller@iraq.centcom.mil
SIPR john.miller@s-iraq.centcom.mil

"Lead, follow or get the hell out of the way!"
-GEN George S. Patton

Articles:

Additional Information:

  • Time Frame: 5 months
  • Project Description: Accumulating medical supplies to ship to US Army personnel to distribute to needy Iraqi's in combat areas.
  • Team Assembled: 5 core individuals in Las Vegas, 3 partners – ONE in Las Vegas at UNLV, Tom Deierlein in New York and US Army personnel (most notably Sgt Miller) in Iraq.
  • Outcome: Much needed medical equipment was distributed to those civilians in need in Iraq by US military members.
  • Costs: None to taxpayers (no money provided)
    • no grant money
    • no department money
    • no stipend(s) or hourly pay
    • no reimbursement(s) except for one instance – TD Foundation for shipping
    • no fuel allotment
    • all participants paid for their own expenses
    • all purchasing monies were provided by individuals