Our patient, KC, is a 63 year old that moved to Indianapolis 25 years ago due to a job transfer. His life and career now located him more than 680 miles from his small home town in New York. Prior to his relocation, Kevin had faithfully served as a respected member of Valley Stream Volunteer Fire Department.
This commitment to the fire service and his community was not one that he took lightly. Through the past 25 years KC has traveled back to his hometown frequently and continued to serve alongside his FD family, actively protecting his hometown community as a Valley Stream Volunteer Firefighter / EMT.
KC, the oldest of five children, always looked out for his younger two brothers and two sisters while they were growing up. His sister commented that even though they are all adults, anytime one of them would be traveling, he made sure to track their flights until he knew they were safely at their destination. This is the reason she asked us to share with KC that, on this day, they would be tracking his flight.
In July of 2014, KC was injured as a result of a fire in his own home. This tragic accident left him with severe burns covering over 35% of his body. He endured an extensive complex course in the Eskenazi burn unit, including multiple skin grafts. Many complications followed as his long recovery process continued. His road to recovery is expected to be long including speech, occupational, and physical therapy. KC is now unable to visit his siblings, and his FD family as he has enjoyed doing over the past 25 years. He is currently located at the Briarwood Health and Rehab Center in Indianapolis. Since July KC’s brothers and sisters, along with his fire department family, have been taking turns traveling to Indianapolis to visit and to encourage and support him through his recovery.
!”Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
Now that KC’s medical condition is stable, the family called on Grace On Wings to fly him home to New York, to continue his rehabilitation with the support of his family and friends closer. KC was transferred to a rehabilitation facility that can continue the rehabilitation and care that he requires. His doctors and care team believe that being close to his family, friends, and hometown will positively impact his recovery.
Just days prior to KC’s flight home with Grace On Wings, his sister had contacted Lisa, our Chief Flight Nurse, with a concern. She expressed that he was becoming increasingly anxious about his up coming travel arrangements. Since he was in a facility in Indianapolis, Lisa offered to visit him a day or two prior to the flight to answer any questions and try to help with his anxiety. The day prior to KC’s flight she made a trip to Briarwood Health and Rehab Center where she visited with KC, and spent about 45 minutes at his bedside talking with him about what to expect and his concerns. When it was time for her to leave, she said KC appeared relaxed and calm, and verbalized his thanks for her spending time with him and easing his anxiety. She also added that the staff at Briarwood were extremely helpful and attentive to KC’s needs and our requests for his preparation prior to the flight.
It was a beautiful day to fly on a Tuesday morning! The Grace On Wings flight crew were greeted by the staff and two of KC’s friends when we arrived at Briarwood to take him home.
KC was in high spirits, and said he was excited to go home but yet a little nervous. He smiled as he recognized Lisa’s voice from the previous days visit, as he was only able to open his eyes briefly due to the large amounts of ointments in his eyes from the previous day’s ophthalmic burn treatments. I introduced myself to KC, and after a quick glance, he said he was ready to go home. His friends made sure a special pillow stayed with him during the flight, which was a gift from his brothers and sisters at the Valley Stream Fire Department.
During the flight we enjoyed talking with KC, and we were thankful about how relaxed and free from anxiety he was.
I think he also really enjoyed listening to the ATC radio traffic. KC enjoyed listening as we cruised towards his hometown and we could sense he was getting excited as he could tell we were getting close to home from the radio traffic.
After we landed and taxied off the runway I said to KC, “Looks like your friends are here!”. We came to a stop right beside the Valley Stream Fire Department’s ambulance. His fellow FD family were Lined up waiting for him. They had been tracking his flight, and were anxiously waiting to serve their brother and friend. While riding in the ambulance with KC, Lisa and I noticed a dedication plaque on the wall of the ambulance box. KC informed us that he actually drove this very ambulance in a parade on the day of its dedication for the 100 year anniversary of the Valley Stream Fire Department.
As we made our way to the nursing floor at the facility where KC’s new room would be, caregivers and visitors watched inquisitively as we utilized all 4 elevators to move the entire group. We arrived at KC’s room and finally explained to the curious nursing staff that this entire group was actually here to welcome him home. After we transferred him to his bed we praised the Lord for providing a safe transport and loving support of friends and family to help Kevin with his continued recovery.
!”…serve one another humbly in love.” (Galatians 5:13)
I am thankful for this opportunity to serve with Hal, Rusty, Lisa, and Matt on this mission.
Chris Kachur, EMT-P!