The request from Corporal Adam S on 10.20.08:
Dear Luke’s Wings:
I am Corporal Adam Shaffer and I’m writing today to request travel for my parents so that I may see my father on his birthday.
I was severely wounded during an ambush by an RPG, an IED, and a bullet that shattered the bone in my left leg in Afghanistan in October 2006. I was in a very remote part of Afghanistan where we when we were hit. I continued to drive so the vehicles behind me would not be sitting ducks. I almost bled to death before I was flown to a field hospital and then to Germany. I was then flown to Washington D.C. where I spent 22 months at Walter Reed. I had 14 surgeries and 22 blood transfusions. My parents and I wanted to do whatever it took to save my leg so we did not opt for amputation. With the advice of the doctor at Walter Reed, we were told it would take 18 months to 2 years to save my leg. I also have TBI and PTSS. The treatment for my leg was long and painful. I am now back at Fort Drum in the wounded warrior unit. I requested to go back to Fort Drum as that is where my unit is and I had hoped that I would be able to complete my recovery and rejoin them.
My parents were by my side during the touch and go days from October 2006 through January 2007. My mother and father them took turns flying back and forth to be with me. This was no small feat as they live in Phoenix, Arizona. During the times my father was in Washington D.C. he did not receive a pay check. Thankfully, his company did hold his job. My mom is a middle school principle and used her accrued sick leave to be with me. Thankfully her staff was very understanding and took care of everything while she was gone. In January of 2008, I had my last surgery. My mother came to D.C. to be with me. On February 1st, her travel orders were closed and she flew back to Phoenix. I have not seen them either of my parents since. My parents worked very hard to keep everything going in Phoenix and still with me in D.C. As the economy worsens it has become almost impossible for them to come to Fort Drum. They helped support my sister and her children as well as my brother’s youngest son. With the rise in food prices, clothing and gas it really runs them short. Airfare has also increased as well as the cost of hotels and food.
We have always been a close family and I miss my folks. My request is to be able to fly my parents to Syracuse for my father’s birthday the second week of December. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.
The letter to his mother on 11.24.08
I hope this letter finds you well. A month ago, our organization, Luke’s Wings, received a letter from your son, Adam. In his letter, Adam told us a story of commitment, sacrifice, courage, and devotion. But most importantly, he told us about the unbreakable bond that he shares with his parents. In recognition of your personal devotion to your son and of his selfless service to his country, it is our honor to inform you that we will be footing the bill for you and your husband’s travel to Syracuse next month. We are humbled by Adam’s heartfelt request to see his parents on such a special day, and take great joy in doing our part to make this happen.
Our organization, Luke’s Wings, with the help of David Nelson and Kristi Lee Colavito, the Owner and General Manager of Champions Sports Bar, and more than 150 of our sustaining members, supporters, and friends, came together at Champions Sports Bar on Veteran’s Day, November 11th to raise the necessary funds to fly you and your husband to Syracuse, New York so that you both could be with Adam on his dad’s birthday.
Trip Planning: Please contact Kim L at MacNair Travel Management: 703-xxx-xxxx. Kim has been briefed and looks forward to speaking with you.
Sheila, please let Adam know that on behalf of Luke’s Wings, Champions Bar and Grill, MacNair Travel Management, and the 150+ supporters who made this possible, we thank him for all he has done for our country. Adam is a hero. We wish you the very best in helping him through this tough recovery and hope that our small gesture may bring you joy in this holiday season.
The Luke’s Wings Team
Thank you letter, received 01.03.09
Dear Luke’s Wings,
As the holidays come to an end I wanted to tell you Thank you so much for your wonderful gift. My husband and I flew to Upper state New York to See Adam for his father’s birthday. It was a dream come true. We saw Adam, who by the way is getting stronger every day, we also saw our grandchild Tucker for the first time. Our time together was wonderful.We participated in putting up Adam, Stephanie, and Tucker’s first real Christmas tree. We had a birthday dinner for Big Rick in the small town of Mexico, New York. Best of all we spent 5 wonderful days as a family.
We are very proud of Adam and his service to our country.We are very blessed that after 22 months his wounds are healing and he will close out his Army career. But, because of your caring organization we spent 5 magical days with our soldier. Words will never convey how thankful we are.
Proud Army Mom