Clipped From Lebanon Daily News
Lebanon Nurse Shares Ambassadorial Honor Mrs. David Spillane is sharing her ambassadorial citation with her fellow Lebanon Cb'untians. The citation, received from U.S. Ambassador to Saigon Ellsworth Bunker honors the local nurse for her humanitarian work while she operated Halfway House, an infant care shelter in Saigon. Contributions of money and supplies from local people and organizations enabled Mrs. Spillane to carry on her project. , The .former Sharon Gallagher, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Gallagher, 1517 N. Seventh St., Mrs. Spillane went to Saigon, Vietnam, in October 1970. Her husband was associated with the U.S. Embassy there. \ 'Mrs. Spillane observed the plight of the children in that war ravaged area. She took up the task of establishing and operating Halfway House, an infant care shelter. .A deserted, crumbling warehouse in Saigon was secured by World Vision Inter- national, a. U.S. charitable organization. Mrs. Spillane took charge of setting up the shelter and training Vietnamese and American women to operate the facility. The main purpose of Halfway House, Mrs. Spillane ex- pladns is to provide a temporary shelter for abandoned babies. In particular, care-is given to malnourished and premature infants. Most of the children cared for are under two years of age and of mixed parentage. As many as 75 infants are cared for by staff and Vietnamese foster mothers. After the babies are nursed back to health, Halfway House personnel try to have them adopted into Vietnamese families or place them in a good orphanage. They even try to have some of the babies adopted out of the country, however, this is difficult and time-consuming. Mrs. Spillane's efforts on the out of the country adoptions became a reality last Christmas Eve. She relates that as she was watching a national news broadcast, she was able to identify one of her small charges being deplaned for adoption by a family in Maryland. The plight of the Halfway House — inadequate equipment, no hot water, no essentials such as a washing machine, incubator, vaporizers and medical supplies — was brought to the attention\ of Lebanoniatis. x Mrs. Spillane told of her needs at the shelter in a letter to her mother. Her mother shared the letter with the Daily News. A feature on Halfway House and Mrs. Spil!ane*s. work there was published on Feb. 27, 1971. Since that time a number of individuals and local .organizations have been donating money and supplies for use at Halfway House. "You may not realize it, but your response wih .supplies and monetary contributions have enabled us to save the lives of hundreds of babies," Mrs. Spillane states. She notes that to date adoption has been arranged for some 50 babies. Mrs. Spillane is here for a two-week visit with her parents. Her husband is in Washington. Her thoughts, however, keep going back to Saigon and Halfway House. "We may return there in a year," she says.