Saturday, February 24, 2007

"Mom, this is Riley, this is awesome"

riley, i don't think you could have made a better wish than to spend it with your new ranger friends

sounds like you had a wicked good time!

Severely ill child gets wish to spend time with Army Rangers

By Melissa Nelson, Associated Press Writer February 23, 2007
EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --Weakened by his lifelong battle with cystic fibrosis, 14-year-old Riley Woina dreams of being strong like the war heroes he watches in movies.
The U.S. Army's 6th Ranger Training Battalion on Eglin Air Force Base recently helped him realize this unusual dream.
Susan Woina joked that her son could have taken his Plymouth, Conn., family to Walt Disney World or gone on a shopping spree through the Make-A-Wish Foundation instead of spending a week crawling in the mud with soldiers in the Florida Panhandle.
"You always want what you cannot have and he'll never be able to join the Army because of his cystic fibrosis, so of course he wants that more than anyone else would. He would join the Army today if he could," she said.
The family has no connection to the military, except through the many war movies Riley loves to watch. Inspired by his favorite movies, "Black Hawk Down" and the HBO World War II series "Band of Brothers," he researched Ranger training and learned about the 6th Ranger Training Battalion.
Riley said he couldn't think of anything better -- not even visiting a chocolate factory -- than seeing Camp James E. Rudder where Rangers face their final and most difficult training challenges.
"I knew I probably wouldn't be able to do anything like this again. They do everything down here, the swamp training, everything," he said, while eating with his new Ranger buddies in the chow hall.
And the 80-pound 14-year-old, weakened by his degenerative illness, said he doesn't feel any sympathy for the physical punishment Rangers experience for 18 days at Camp Rudder.............

No comments: