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Where No Hero is Forgotten

Letter from Ken – Operation Healing Angel


Dear Alessandra and Homefront Hugs,

HomefrontHugsUSA and Healing Angel has been a tremendous blessing this week. I have received several gift packages including a 3-ft Christmas tree. Most of us seem to be hiding that we are a little down right now because it’s Christmas and we are so far away from families, memories, etc. It has been a regular busy work day, even though it is Christmas Eve. I was pretty tired by day’s end until I saw all the packages and the tree. The tree is what finally put me in a Christmas spirit.

I decided to set it up on our wood deck between my hut and the neighboring hut. I have attached a picture. I happened to have battery operated Christmas lights, since 110volt lights and appliances don’t work here. So, I strung the additional lights on the tree, placed some ornaments, and had a lot of fun doing it. It was really nice to recieve it. I have intentionally saved the other packages until tomorrow, Christmas Day, to open. I thought it might make the day a little more like Christmas Day. I cannot tell everyone what a morale boost your packages have been for me. As I share the gifts with my team, it will pick them up as well. Thank you so much. I hope you all of a blessed holidays. I hope you are blessed as much as you have blessed us. THANK YOU!!!!! I am also including a photo taken last week during a snow storm. Thanks!!!!


Ken Laube
Herat, Afghanistan



Alessandra and volunteers of Homefront Hugs USA:

It is a joy to write to you and to personally thank you for the many wonderful gifts. First, I would like to thank you for the many hand-written cards. It means so much to me that you have taken the time to personally write to us, even though you don’t know us. When you say that you appreciate our service in your own hand writing, it is very special and definitely believable. Thank you so much. And, I really enjoy the paintings and pictures on the front of the cards. I regret to say that I never gave much time to the paintings on cards when I was home. Over here, the pictures bring back many memories of home and growing up. I have cut out the front of many cards and placed them around my room on the plywood walls. Winter pictures of birds, old houses with the US flag hung on the porch, winter scenes, etc – such great pictures. The evenings can be lonely and oftentimes I look at the pictures and daydream. Thank you. I also appreciate the other eatable gifts. Whoever is selecting the gifts really knows what they are doing. They are perfect for us. I will introduce you to “us” in a minute. We have a team office on our Camp Stone. We walk a little more than one-half mile out of our base and on the Afghan Army base, to the hospital where we work. Before we leave our office for the morning walk, we enjoy a pot of coffee. The Starbucks coffee you are sending is GREATLY appreciated. Finally, I wanted to share the attached picture with you. Yesterday, I received two boxes from Homefront Hugs. Inside of one of the boxes were two cute, fuzzy eggs that zipped open with a little duck. Today, I had the opportunity to give one to a little girl at the hospital. She was so cute and she laughed and giggled when I gave it to her. I love doing nice things for the Afghans and you are helping me do that.

I am the leader of a 13-member Navy healthcare team. We have doctors, nurses, technicians all serving as mentors to Afghan Army counterparts. We work in a new Afghan military hospital in Herat, Afghanistan. The Afghan nurses and doctors are very eager to learn. However, it is a very slow process. We were taught in our mentor training that it takes about one year to accomplish here what we can do in one day in our own hospitals at home. So, it can be very frustrating, but yet, rewarding. Our biggest challenge is for the Afghans to sustain what we teach them. Attached is a picture of my team with our interpreters, standing in front of a new hospital ambulance. We taught them how to drive and how to use the medical equipment inside of each ambulance. We are here for one year and will return home next summer. With 3 months of Army and mentor training, we will be away from home for a total of 15 months.

We are not really in need of anything specific. Our families send us many of our necessities as well as sweets, etc. We do wish, however, that there was a Crispy Creme donut place here. Not much we can do about that. I would like to close by saying thank you for taking time out of your busy days to encourage us and express your appreciation. Until next time, thank you.


Ken Laube
Captain, U.S.Navy




I wanted to make you all aware of this wonderful organization, HomefrontHugsUSA, based out of our own Gulf Breeze. As you will see in the articles this organization touches military folks all over the world. “Operation Healing Angel” within HomefrontHugsUSA has sent my team many wonderful items and has really encouraged us with cards, coffee, etc. Alessandra and I have written back and forth as she continues to seek to meet the needs of deployed healthcare workers, as well as the servicemen and women with whom we serve. I want to thank Alessandra and her son, Ed, for all the work they do so unselfishly. If you are ever looking to support organization that is making a real difference to us fighting the fight, or to those who have fought the fight and are now healing, this is organization to support. Thanks HomefrontHugsUSA.



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