Abdullah, Surgery to Repair Hip Destroyed by RPG, April 2007
A young boy named Abdullah was injured when RPG shrapnel destroyed his hip. Without expert pediatric orthopedic surgical care he will never walk again. Bill Billeter, a West Point graduate who moved his family 2,000 miles and missed the birth of his child in order to deploy spearheaded this effort and refused to let the issue die with the military and Iraqi bureaucracies.
This was our first medical case and the first chance we had to work with Marikay Satryano who was a non-commissioned officer at the time working in the Jordanian Embassy in Amman. Today, Marikay plays a critical role coordinating multiple non-profits and charities to get a variety of aid and medical care to the Middle East.
LTC Phil McIntire, a Michigan native and Civil Affairs Company Commander, tapped into his network at home and arranged for the boy to be treated at the University of Michigan Hospital by an elite surgeon – all medical expenses paid. TDF paid the travel expenses for the mother and child in April 2007. Here is an excerpt from an email from Phil as he describes what happened when the father was notified of the impending help. (Unit interpreter’s nick name was “Jackie Chan” and the A/414th company mascot was the “ArchAngels”).
I had Jackie Chan call the family today to make sure they were willing to go through with this. It will require for the boy and his mom to be away from their family, alone in the US for several weeks. The family had no idea of what was going on behind the scenes other than they asked the GIC (government information center) for help. The Dad answered the phone, I prepped Jackie in what I wanted him to say so he just went on for several seconds. The Dad was so shocked he started crying… Jackie was actually shaking because he was so happy to give the good news and realize how much it meant to the Dad. The Dad kept saying between his tears of joy… “I feel like I am talking to an angel from heaven!” “I feel like I’ve been talking to an angel!” It hit me, the magnitude of what we were helping to give to these parents and little Abdual… I am confident the “Angels” had something to do with this!
I don’t know the next steps regarding airfare, but will get back with you with and provide an update soon.
Thanks Tom for staying true to the calling of the “Archangels”… “the protectors”.