A High Flying Thank You from Afghanistan

Gene Rindt

By Pam Witt-Hillen, ThedaStar flight nurse

On July 9, 2013, Gene Rindt underwent orthopedic surgery at New London Medical Center.  In recovery he suddenly became unresponsive, requiring intubation and was transferred to Theda Clark Medical Center in Neenah to the neurological ICU for evaluation. A CT scan of his brain revealed a slight stroke that caused a seizure.  Gene remained in ICU for four days. He improved significantly but remains on prophylactic seizure medication. He said his doctors told him “I will never know exactly what caused my problems, but I am exceedingly grateful for everything everyone did for me.  I am receiving excellent care.”  Gene is one of 11 children and the second of his family to be flown by ThedaStar.  Approximately three years ago ThedaStar flew his brother also from the New London hospital for severe anaphylaxis. 

Gene and his wife Donna surprised the ThedaStar flight crew who took care of him with an amazing thank-you.  Mark Coenen (flight nurse), Jeff Roehrig (paramedic) and Dan Unruh (pilot) were presented American flags flown in Afghanistan during a combat sortie aboard a U.S. Air Force A-10C warthog assigned to the 74th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, the famous Flying Tigers’ Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. 

Gene’s daughter Master Sergeant Tanya Crisp arranged this to honor and thank the crew who took care of her father since she wasn’t personally here to do it herself.   She is serving her seventh tour in Afghanistan and serves as a heavy duty mechanic who is in charge of all vehicle maintenance at her base.  Tanya’s husband Eric is retired military. Gene served in the Army and his other daughter Tina’s husband, Mike Johnson, has been in the Air Force for 22 years and deployed six times.  We are proud of this family’s selflessness and their extended service to their country.  The flags will be treasured by the ThedaStar staff always!