Nurse shares story of Iraqi wounded Sept. 12

Rockford Peace & Justice will host a firsthand report on the wounded of Iraq at the next Coffee Talk at 7:30 p.m., Monday, Sept. 12, at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Rockford, 4848 Turner St.

Special guest will be Kim Abel, R.N., who has a master’s degree in nursing. She’s taught at Illinois Valley Community College for 25 years and took a summer job at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, D.C., for two.

“I have been concerned about the events in the Middle East since Sept. 11, and about our soldiers,” Abel said. “I wanted to see and hear what stories the soldiers had to tell, and to see how they were being cared for.”

Abel was the 2004 Carnegie Professor of the Year and is treasurer of Nightingale’s Closet (started by nurses 13 years ago to give clothes to the needy). She is also a member of the LaSalle County Draft Board.

Of her time at Walter Reed, Abel said: “For soldiers, no amount of money will return sight, legs, arms, or heal brain injuries. Families can be some of the best, effective treatment.”

She found her experience life-changing and noted, “The most haunting issue was the death and suffering of children.”

She recalled one soldier who had to deal with body parts; although he had been on active duty for 20 years, it had not prepared him for the tragic sight. He remembered carrying two young girls to their parents, the wailing and grief. Another said he had been involved in a child’s death and would never go back or kill again.

Coffee Talks are free and open to the public and presented every Monday evening, 7:30 p.m., at Unitarian Universalist Church of Rockford, 4848 Turner St. Rockford Peace & Justice Action Committee sponsors the Coffee Talks, with an assist from Rockford Urban Ministries, the Social Responsibilities Committee of the UU Church, and friends of George LaForrest and Rev. John Breck.

For more information, call Stanley Campbell, director of Rockford Urban Ministries, at 815-964-7111.

From the Sept. 7-13, 2005, issue

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