Amy Galvez was amazed by the love and support she found - sometimes from total strangers - after learning her son, Adam, had been killed in Iraq. But it was the patients of the Salt Lake City nurse who gave her the biggest surprise, one that still overwhelms her sense of human grace.
    The inconspicuous central city office where Galvez works is the daily destination for hundreds of drug addicts battling opiate addiction. While fighting their own battles - many with the help of methadone, which treats the withdrawal symptoms of heroin, morphine and other drugs - Galvez's patients also were keenly interested in the battles being fought by her Marine son in Iraq's Al Anbar Province.
    "Most of them found out about Adam's death on television," said Kelly Morgan, clinical coordinator at the Discovery House clinic. "And everyone wanted to know what they could do."
    Within days, the patients - many without any prompting at all - began bringing in food, toiletries and other items to fill a large box Galvez had set up, weeks before her son was killed, on behalf of a company of Marines in the 3rd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion, a unit of 22 troops stationed near Ramadi.
    Before Galvez returned to work, the box had been emptied and refilled several times by the patients.
    "They would come in with razors and candy and soap," Morgan said. "Some people, a lot of them, don't have a lot. They're on welfare, they don't have anything, they can't even afford a bus pass and yet they gave. It was just amazing to watch the whole process unfold."
    When Galvez returned to her job last week, she was stunned.
    "I just couldn't believe it," she said Wednesday as she stood over dozens of small boxes stuffed with beef jerky, cookies, new athletic socks and granola bars. "Some of these people are homeless. Some are in really bad shape."
    Galvez said her son learned about the project she was undertaking on behalf of the 3rd LAAR - the group is stationed in a rugged outpost without regular electricity and running water, Galvez has been told - on the day before he died.
    "I told him about where they were, what they were doing," she said. "He said, 'Oh, I'll bet they're hating life.' He thought it was a great thing to do for them."
    That made her patients' acts of generosity and concern all the more touching, Galvez said.
    "When I saw what they had done for me, for Adam, it just made me feel so good about the people I work with," she said, "and about people in general."