Service organization delivers during time of need

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Randy Ransburgh
  • 621st Contingency Response Wing
I'd like to share a quick story about a few, true patriots. One summer day this past July, I received word one of our deployed 21st Air Mobility Operations Squadron members was returning stateside on emergency leave. His father-in-law was rapidly declining in health, and he was on his way home to join his wife and family during this challenging time.

I immediately contacted Staff Sgt. Stephen Daniels' wife to check on her and the family, and to let her know her Air Force family was here and waiting should she need anything. She explained to me her biggest problem was her father was rapidly deteriorating, and might not be able to leave the hospital to pick up her husband at the airport as planned. She also had no way of contacting him to let him know to take a taxi.

He was currently four hours from touchdown at Logan International Airport. I told her I would coordinate his pick up and send her a text when I had confirmation of his transportation to the hospital. I contacted the local USO and talked to Brian Quint, a volunteer who is a contract doctor at the Coast Guard station in Boston. Much to my relief, Brian assured me he would wait the more the than two hours after his shift for Daniels and personally take him to hospital. After all of the hassle of quick overseas travel, he didn't want Daniels to have to pay the estimated 50 dollars to catch a taxi. I contacted his wife with details of the arrangements.

Much to our surprise, Brian had quickly learned during his coordination that he, by USO regulation, could not personally take Daniels to the hospital. With Sergeant Daniels arrival quickly approaching, he immediately notified another USO volunteer of the situation. Anne-Marie Seltzer assisted Brian in coordinating with airport staff members to meet Daniels at his arrival gate and notify him he would have to take a taxi.

However when Daniels' flight arrived, two Massachusetts State Police officers and a Customs Agent boarded the airplane and requested all the passengers to return to their seat and allow Daniels to come forward. The USO had worked through the police department and the airport departments to escort Daniels' through the return. The officers swiftly escorted him through the line at customs, into a service elevator and into a patrol car that took him directly to the hospital where his ailing father-in-law was being held. This entire return operation was done in 45 minutes, from the time the airplane touched down to Daniels meeting his wife in the hospital.

The USO has a long tradition of going the extra mile on behalf of service members and their families. In this instance, in close partnership with law enforcement and customs, our sincerest gratitude goes to them for taking care of one of our own. Words cannot appropriately express the appreciation for their service to our men and women in our Nation's armed services. Thanks to all those who helped in this Airman and his family's time of need. This dedication to service and our Air Force family is humbling and truly a testament of the commitment to our service members.