A while back, I blogged about Brad Blauser, an American who started an organization to get wheel chairs to needy Iraqi kids. It's an impressive story. He worked in Iraq as a contractor. A surgeon he met told him how many Iraqi children who suffer crippling injuries or who need amputations never are able to get a wheelchair. This is exactly what I experienced when I was working at the hospital in Balad. There just wasn't the same access to prosthetic limbs or wheelchairs. Children would show up in my trauma follow-up clinic carried by parents, or sometimes wheeled in in a rolling office chair on little casters. Brad took this little bit of information, and he decided to do something about it. He started Wheelchairs for Iraqi Kids
and organized donation of wheelchairs to those who needed them.
A lot of people were impressed by the story, including my mother who donated to finance a chair for an Iraqi child. These chairs are heavy duty, specially fitted for children, and make a huge difference in their lives.
I know lots of people, myself included, who have tried to help a bit while they were in Iraq, but after getting home, didn't contribute much else. I have seen lots of charities form, and then peter out a few years later. What really impresses me about Brad is that he is still going strong. I read in this recent article:
that he is in his fifth year of helping Iraqi kids. His contractor job has ended, but he stays on in Baghdad, continuing to help get these injured children what they need to stay integrated in their lives. Now that is impressive, and Brad is the kind of American about whom we can all be proud.