NEWS | June 30, 2021

Idaho Guardsmen step in to help care for ailing WWII veteran

By Staff Sgt. Mercedee Wilds, 124th Fighter Wing

BOISE, Idaho – Members of the 124th Security Forces Squadron 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 to stay at on-base lodging on days he has appointments at the Boise VA Medical Center.

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

That's when 124th SFS defenders took it upon themselves to organize hourly shifts to check on Brand, including 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 caregivers. 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 the 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."