By Pfc. Rebekah Lampman, 4th BCT, 1st Cav. Div. PAOOctober 14, 2008
COB Adder, Iraq - A white, four-door vehicle drove up to the Contingency Operating Base Adder Visitor Control Center with Hussein Zabr Qaz riding in the passenger side Oct 1.
As combat medics assigned to Company C, 27th Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division approached the Iraqi citizen from Nasiyria, a local town near the U.S. base, they noticed he was paralyzed from the waist down and badly in need of a new wheelchair.
"He was here looking for treatment, because of bedsores that he had on the back of his thighs due to his paralysis," said Pfc. Jenny Bowers, a native of Columbus, Ohio. "But we noticed he had a very old wheelchair, and had a hard time getting around; and that's when we both knew what we had to do."
When Hussein said he couldn't afford a new wheel chair, Bowers and fellow medic, Pfc. Melissa Gonzales, immediately went into action. They contacted their company's Medical Supply Office to see if there were any wheelchairs available.
"As medics, we know it's our job to help out our fellow Soldiers when they get injured," said Gonzales, from Bangor, Penn. "But it's also very rewarding for us when we get the chance to do something more to help the Iraqis here. The look on his face when we gave him the wheelchair was proof enough for me that we're really making a difference."
As the Long Knife medics helped Hussein into his new wheelchair, he smiled and shook hands with the Soldiers, who took time out from their duties at the VCC to help the local citizen in his time of need.
"I appreciate everything the first cavalry division is doing here for us," he said. "I especially thank my two new favorite medics."
After the driver helped the grateful Hussein into his seat, Bowers and Gonzales watched them drive away in a cloud of dust.
"It's an uplifting feeling to see how happy and thankful he was," said Bowers, as she walked back towards the VCC. "I can't put into words the feelings you get when you're able to touch someone's life like that. That right there makes me love being a medic."