A mission of support

Patient Stories, Topics

Don with his son, Troy

Dedication: This flag was flown on a CH-47F Chinook
on numerous support missions by members of Bravo
Co3-238th GSAB in a contentious valley of Afghanistan.
This flag bears witness to the relentless resolve of the
American Armed Forces, and our sincere gratitude
for your gracious support. May it be an eternal
reminder of the effort and sacrifices made by the
men and women of The United States Military to keep
our friends, families, and homes safe from all who
challenge freedom.

In the Infusion Center of the Karmanos Cancer Institute at McLaren Macomb, on a table near the corner, stands a framed, folded American flag above a dedication.

The dedication states that the flag had been flown in honor of McLaren Macomb by Bravo Company 3rd Battalion, 238th Aviation Regiment during a mission in Afghanistan and Operation Freedom's Sentinel.

Don, who had just settled in to begin his first chemotherapy treatment, was shown the display by his daughter, who was with him for support.

It wasn't because of the display's patriotic sentiment, but because the signature in the bottom-left corner was that of her brother Troy, a 17-year military veteran.

A chemistry teacher at Henry Ford II High School, Troy is also a reserve in the Air National Guard and the chief warrant officer 2 who was piloting the CH-47F Chinook helicopter photographed in the dedication.

"It was purely coincidental," said Don, the proud father, with a laugh. "She was just walking around and saw Troy's name. That's my son."

The flag was presented to McLaren Macomb in recognition for its support of the Family Readiness Group (FRG) at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, a group composed of volunteers, soldiers and family members of soldiers providing support and assistance (be it emotional, physical or financial) to fellow members.

Troy's wife, McLaren Macomb internist Dr. Linda Kosal, is the group's treasurer.

This flag was flown in Troy's Chinook, part of a General Support Aviation Battalion. Coming full circle, his support is now directed toward his father as he continues his radiation and chemo treatments, sitting in sight of the flag flown during his son's mission.

A veteran himself, Don spent six years in the Air Force, stationed at Scott Air Force Base near St. Louis and Ramstein Air Base in Germany, during the Vietnam War.

In good spirits and a smile never far from his face, Don feels welcome and encouraged during his treatments, with his supportive family never too far away.

"I feel very fortunate," he said. "It's such a wonderful staff here. I came for my second treatment and they already know me by name. They've been great."

To learn more about cancer care at McLaren Macomb, visit mclaren.org/macombcancer.