A Navy recruiter driving the Blue Angels’ flight surgeon and Marine recruiter Sgt. Karl Krebsbach to the Children’s Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha was lost. Krebsbach, from Recruiting Substation South Omaha, Recruiting Station Des Moines, he said already knew the way; he’s been there many times.
“That’s where my son’s cardiologist is,” Krebsbach explained.
His three-year-old son was born with a heart condition that hospitalized him multiple times since birth. August 28 was Krebsbach’s chance to give something back to the hospital that has taken such good care of his son. The Navy’s flight demonstration squadron was in town for the weekend, and the pilots visited parts of the community the day before the air shows. Krebsbach volunteered to escort Navy Lt. Johannah Valentine, the Blue Angels’ flight surgeon, to meet with patients at the children’s hospital.
“It’s our chance to visit the children who might not get a chance to go to the air show and give them a glimpse at what we do, maybe brighten their day a little bit, and break up the monotony of being in the hospital all day long,” Valentine said.
The service members toured a floor of the building, talking to each patient. Valentine taught each about the Blue Angels and gave them souvenirs.
Krebsbach felt a connection with the kids and parents at the hospital because of his own experience there.
“It was a good experience with the kids I respect and have a heart for,” Krebsbach said. “It felt great. I get a smile every time I go up to the Children’s Hospital because I remember seeing how the kids react when they do get better. And the littlest things make them happy: seeing the Blue Angels; seeing a Marine.”
The servicmembers also spoke with parents.
“The days get very long for them, so to have something that they typically wouldn't have exposure to is fabulous.” said Kathleen Feller, mother of a 12-year-old patient named Kennedy. “When you're here for even a short period of time, it gets very exhausting. And when you're in a lot of pain, having somebody brighten day is really amazing.”
Spending time to with the kids and parents of the hospital meant a lot to Krebsbach because he knows that some day he will return again with his own son.
“I know when I go back there that I’ll be taken care of to the best of their abilities,” Krebsbach said. “From the nurses, to the doctors and volunteers who come in there just to cheer up people, we parents need those kind of things when our kid is in the hospital.”