Mission: PFC Bryan Lamartiniere

We have some fantastic volunteers. A couple of days before the Fourth of July I found out that we needed to get a mom in Louisiana up to Kansas to be with her son after he had surgery. I thought we might have difficulty filling the mission since it needed to happen over the 4th with very little notice. (Although I can’t think of a better way to spend Independence Day than serving our wounded warriors).

I got a quick response from Scott Hallock, one of our pilots based in Manhattan, KS the evening of the 2nd. He was able to do the mission, and the weather looked best to leave the next day. He called the passenger, Connie, to get everything arranged, and they were on their way to Fort Riley on the evening on the 3rd. He went above and beyond driving Connie to the post and making sure she had lodging. They arrived shortly after midnight on the 4th, and to quote Scott (Former US Army Special Forces Officer), ” I couldn’t have envisioned a better way to spend the 4th than what I did.”

Since the mission was on such short notice, we still had to try to find a pilot to get Connie home the following week. Walt got on the phone and was successful in finding a jet owner (Dennis Mullin-S.P.S Holdings) in Manhattan to donate his pilot (Edmund Hill) and aircraft to get Connie back home to Louisiana. This was the first time they had heard about Veterans Airlift Command, and they were happy to help.
Below is a letter we received from Connie after the mission was complete:
I am writing this email to thank Veterans’ Airlift for all they have done for me and my son. I am very grateful for the opportunity to visit with my son after he was wounded in Iraq. Though my son’s injury was not life threatening, it may end his career in the Army. He loves serving and now has to wait to see if he will be able to continue to do that.
It meant a lot to me to see him, and I know it meant a lot to my son to have someone from his family there, when he was so quickly taken away from his fellow soldiers in Iraq. Not serving in war time or in the military, I cannot understand fully the bonds that are formed, but I do know that those bonds are strong and they last a lifetime. This is made quite evident by your organization. You continue to serve your country and have shown that you will support those service men and women, who are now in the service of their country.
Both pilots were great and made me feel at ease, even though I am a big chicken about flying. Mr. Hallock was so very helpful. He made sure that I got on base, had lodging, and carried me to the hospital to see my son. He also made sure that I had a ride to my lodging. I simply do not have the adequate words to express my gratitude to your organization, the Wounded Soldiers organization, and to these two wonderful pilots that brought me to see my son and to take me home again.
Again thank you from the depths of my heart for your help and may God continue to bless this organization.

Connie Stilgoe and PFC Bryan Lamartiniere

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