We Owe Him Everything We’ve Got... and Then Some

(U.S. Air National Guard: story and photo by Staff Sgt. Mercedee Wilds)

124th Fighter Wing, Boise, ID 30 June 2021

124th Security Forces Squadron defenders went above and beyond to assist a 96-year-old World War II veteran.

Retired Capt. William Brand was a P-47 Thunderbolt pilot with the Eighth Air Force in Okinawa, Japan, during WWII. He now lives in Hailey, Idaho, but regularly travels to Gowen Field in Boise, Idaho to stay at the on-base lodging on days that appointments at the Boise VA Medical Center.

On May 6, 2021, 124th SFS defenders received an emergency call to the Gowen Field Lodging Facility. As Brand was checking in for a routine stay at the Gowen Field Lodging Facility he experienced a medical emergency, which left this WWII veteran with special requirements and a limited ability to properly care for himself and coordinate his VA appointments..

124th SFS defenders took it upon themselves to organize hourly shifts to check on the well-being of Brand, which included assisting with tasks of daily-living, providing essential needs and helping to coordinate with the VA for medical attention.

The defenders took on the role of dedicated care-givers, going beyond their typical duty and surpassing their daily requirements. To this group of 124th SFS members, it was an honor to help Brand and learn about his service to our country.

“Helping a veteran isn’t in our book for normal tasks, but it’s a sense of honor to help someone like that, who not only served our country but spent time in a war that we are still benefiting from,” said Staff Sgt. Jonathan Finer, a 124th SFS member.

Finer and the other defenders who helped Brand felt providing help and assistance to him, a brother in arms who dedicated so much of his life to protecting our country, was the least they could do.

“It’s an honor to be able to hear the stories from the direct mouth of someone who has experienced it,” said Finer, “my personal feelings are that we owe him everything we’ve got and then some.”

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