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    RTF making backpacks for wounded heroes

    U.S. servicemen and women wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan, and service members who support their mission, receive the best medical care in the world when they fall while defending the cause of freedom and our way of life on battlefields far from home.

    When a Marine is wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan, they often arrive to a bed at Balboa Hospital in San Diego in three days! However,

    when they arrive, they are normally wearing their hospital gown, plus only a few items of clothing and personal hygiene gear given to them when they pass through Germany.

    Balboa Hospital has basic supplies ready for them on the ward if they are needed, but the hospital supplies provided are standard government issue. The hospital, the liaison officers, the patients and Gary Becks, who heads up Rescue Task Force, all agree that these wounded heroes who gave their best, gave their all for us and deserve the best. The hospital enables private groups such as RTF to provide not only what the incoming patient needs, but also a lot of what they desire to fill long, lonely days in recovery.

    Rescue Task Force is responding to this opportunity to help these young heroes by building backpacks filled with top quality necessities and entertainment items that will remind them that their sacrifice is appreciated and that they are not forgotten by a grateful nation.

    All backpacks are filled with name-brand shaving kit supplies, clothing, entertainment items and a mobile phone with phone cards. Each one of these backpacks is built individually to fit the need, clothing sizes and limitations of the injuries. Those with use of both arms will receive a Game Boy Advance and games. Those without use of an arm or missing hands will receive an electric shaver, CD player and music.

    For more information, see the ³Happy Hearts for Hurting Heroes² section on the RTF web site, It lists the full backpack contents, which total over $500 in value.

    Gary Becks, who heads this project, was a corpsman with the Marines during Viet Nam and knows  the needs and desires as they arrive at Balboa from the battlefield.

    Rescue Task Force delivered the first of many backpacks on, Sept. 14, but they need many more. Over the next few months there will be a need for about 145 packs, Becks said.

    RTF asks that clothing or other items not be donated, because they buy all the items so there is continuity in the gifts. For more information, contact Rescue Task Force at (619) 328-6511 or [email protected]

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