Captain Bruce Barnard, Captain Andrew A. Torelli and Lieutenant Adam Minich volunteered their time with East Anglia Children’s Hospice (EACH) from January 2001 to January 2002. Officers Barnard, Torelli and Minich organized tremendous support from Royal Air Force Lakenheath and Royal Air Force Mildenhall, United Kingdom. The support they generated from these military base communities helped in EACH’s goal of maximizing the quality of life for terminally ill children, their families and all who are special to them.
EACH, a consortium of three hospices located in East Anglia, United Kingdom, operates as a support facility for 200 terminally ill children and an additional 100 bereaved families. In order to raise funds, the hospices have several “charity shops” located throughout East Anglia where they sell used clothing. Fund-raising is critical to the operation of the hospices, as only 16% of their funding comes from the government.
Officers Barnard, Torelli and Minich organized the collection and recycling of nearly 600 sets of Battle Dress Uniforms (BDUs) by 41 units on both bases. They coordinated the collection of old, serviceable uniforms and removal of all rank, nametapes and patches. Once the hospices’ charity shops had possession of the BDUs they sold them to teenagers who think they’re ‘cool’ and to laborers who use them as work clothing. The project was nicknamed Kammies for Kids (K4K) and is expected to raise nearly $15,000 for EACH.
Because of the innovative and unique approach to generate much needed funds for EACH, the officers’ efforts were highlighted in the European Stars and Strips newspaper, United States Air Force Airmen magazine and newspaper, two military base papers and on the local television news. The officers helped establish processes and tools for others to sustain K4K over the long term. Due to all the assistance EACH has received, 352 children across the region have been helped as well as 100 bereaved families over the past year.