Wounded warrior’s birthday wish comes true

Thanks to Veterans Airlift Command, wounded Army soldier Jeremy Sawyer will get to spend his birthday with his family in Spanaway, Wash.

Sawyer was serving his country in Helmand Province of Afghanistan when an improvised explosive device (IED) was detonated just 3 feet from him, taking both of his legs at the knee, rupturing both ear drums and causing numerous other injuries.

Since then, he has been recovering at the Center for the Intrepid at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. His wish was to be able to spend his next birthday with his two sons, who live in Spanaway, Wash.

With airlines unable to assist in the case of the special needs of wounded warriors, Veterans Airlift Command (VAC) contacted architectural development firm Morgan Design Group of Seattle and Chinook Flight of Everett and asked them if they could help.

Ready to help those who serve, John Parsaie, Morgan Design Group, said, “Get the plane ready.”

When picked up on Sept. 28, Sawyer will be flown to Thun Field at Pierce County Airport in Puyallup, Wash., where he will spend his birthday with his children prior to returning to Brooke Army Medical Center for a critical surgery.

“This mission is funded by several organizations and individuals and I’m happy I can be a part of making this soldier’s wish come true,” said Parsaie.

The VAC provides free air transportation to wounded veterans and their families for medical and other compassionate purposes, through a national network of volunteer aircraft owners and pilots.

Morgan Design is loaning the use of its Cessna 414 Chancellor, a twin aircraft that will allow Sawyer to be able to travel with his mother, who has been his non-medical care giver since he was sent directly to Brooke Army Medical Center from Afghanistan. They will be traveling with the collapsible wheel chair and pertinent medical support items for his care and comfort. Seats will be removed from the plane to allow more room for these care items.

Richard Newman, of Chinook Flight, an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve with 24 years service, has cleared the schedule and made all the arrangements, donating his time as the pilot. “I spent 24 years in the Army and I am glad of the opportunity to help the younger soldiers in any way I can.”

Tim Braly, systems engineer at Brocade, is donating his time as the co-pilot, through his company’s Volunteer Time Off (VTO) program and personally paying for the fuel costs for the mission.

The flight is further possible through the generous donation of discounted fuel and services provided by Million Air Aircraft Support Services of San Antonio.

For more information: VeteransAirlift.org

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