Grand Rapids, MI
Depart: Indianapolis 0830
We picked up patient, Thames A, aka T.A., at Ft. Pierce Airport with his long-time family friend Chris. Upon opening the back of the ambulance doors T.A. was smiling and greeted us with a firm handshake. Chris told us the the nurses of the facility in Florida were lined up wishing him well and telling him good-bye. After assessing T.A., starting an IV, and checking his blood sugar to assure his stability and readiness to fly, we prayed over him and then T.A & Chris were loaded onto Nellie.
T.A is a 90 year old WWII hero who was vacationing in Florida with his sweetheart, Shirley, of 30 years of marriage when he had a stroke. He was admitted to a Veteran’s nursing facility for the past few months waiting transport to be arranged to get him home to Michigan. T.A was involved in the Battle of the Bulge, which started on December 16th 1944. Hitler had convinced himself that the alliance between Britain, France and America in the western sector of Europe was not strong and that a major attack and defeat would break up the alliance. Therefore, he ordered a massive attack against what were primarily American forces. The attack is strictly known as the Ardennes Offensive but because the initial attack by the Germans created a bulge in the Allied front line, it has become more commonly known as the Battle of the Bulge. T.A. asked our EMT, Adrain Miller, if he was afraid to fly, and then he asked him if he would be afraid to jump out of this plane. Of course, Adrain said that indeed he would not want to jump out of an airplane. T.A. said he did not want to jump out of an plane either, but he did jump out of planes during WWII.
T.A. had a sweet spirit and enjoyed laughing and joking with us. He wanted to know when the stewardess was going to bring him a steak because he was tired of eating pureed foods. We fed him a few PB&J crackers softened instead, which he happily accepted.
Arrived: Birmingham, AL 1645
We arrived in Birmingham, AL to refuel, which was extremely hot inside the airplane while waiting to get ready for take off. We fanned T.A. to keep him cool as possible before take off, which he was extremely appreciative of. After departing Birmingham for Grand Rapids, Michigan, T.A. spent time alternating between napping and looking out the window at the awesome view of Lake Michigan.
Arrived: Grand Rapids 2030
Upon arrival to Grand Rapids and arriving at the Veteran’s home he was met by his wife, Shirley, and other family members who were happy and thankful to have T. A. home again. The only sad part of the day was when we tucked him into his new home, he asked Shirley if he was going to go back to the hotel with them. It brought a few tears to my eyes when Shirley told him no, he had to stay where he was for now. Lots of hugs and handshakes were passed around before heading back to Indiana.
Mission #89 a success!
Jenny McKinney, RN