Deployed Airmen, others come together to support injured teen

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Terrica Y. Jones
  • 379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
Deployed service members at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, joined representatives from Boeing and the Qatar Emiri Air Force to send a care package to a teenager recovering from an all-terrain vehicle wreck.

Gregory is a high school junior, an Eagle Scout and a Civil Air Patrol cadet. He likes hunting, diesel trucks, anything related to the military and refers to himself as a country boy, said his father Staff Sgt. Daniel Stein, a 8th Expeditionary Air Mobility Squadron crew chief.

In November, Gregory broke his nose and fractured his C1 vertebrae when the ATV he was riding flipped over. The wreck rendered him unconscious and unable to move his limbs. His friends called 911 and once first responders arrived on scene, Gregory regained consciousness, Stein said.

Gregory was rushed to the trauma center at Sutter Health Roseville Medical Center in Roseville, California, where he spent nine days in the neuro-intensive care unit. He was later sent to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, California.

“I was getting ready to send Stein home to take care of his family,” said Master Sgt. William Nuttell, a 8th EAMS section chief. “He told us that he had talked to his son and he said, ‘Dad you being there serving the country is my impetus to get up and walk. Your job is to keep our home shores safe and my job is to get better.’”

Members of the 8th EAMS later decided to send a care package to Gregory. They also asked the Boeing representatives and the Qatari Emiri Air Force to help contribute.

“The Qataris purchased a flag and flew it to honor Stein’s son,” Nuttell said. “The pilot also signed, dated and put the plane’s tail number on the flag.”

“We thought it would be cool to take a military item that is significant to us, write a small statement of what it means and put in a box and ship it to his son,” he added.

The 8th EAMS also purchased a replica of a QEAF C-17, known as the Qatari Ferrari, to be flown on a QEAF C-17 and later signed by the crew.

This is an example of how the cooperation between the United States, Qatar and Boeing work together as a whole team, Nuttell said.

“Going through Boeing made it a big deal for the Qataris because we never made that type of request before, it was great,” he said.

“It does not matter if we are different internationally; we can all come together when it comes to family,” said Kevin Vidinhar, the Boeing Field engineering and technical support field representative. “Everybody was willing to reach out and help, the Qataris, the Boeing team and the U.S. Air Force because we can all relate to family.”

The care package was scheduled to be mailed by Dec. 10 so Gregory can receive it before Christmas. He is currently receiving rehabilitation services at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center and is slated to be released Dec. 17.

He can walk with a cane and lift his arms with the little strength he has, and doctors say he is progressing quickly.

“I am deeply honored with the amount of caring that my leadership, the Boeing representatives and the Qatari people have shown me and my family,” Stein said. “I can’t say enough good things about my leadership both here and at home.”

“I'm proud of my wife who has experienced and had to deal with so much; she has really been the resilient leader of this event,” Stein added. “I'm proud of my 14-year-old son, Chuck, who has been the calm rock of the family and has been there for his brother to assist with his rehabilitation. I'm proud of my son, Greg, who still smiles even though privately he has concerns about his future. My whole family is an inspiring example of resiliency to me. There are many other family and friends that I am grateful for as well.”

Stein is an Air Force reservist who is deployed from the 349th Maintenance Squadron at Travis Air Force Base, California.