Two Akron Children’s therapists received one of the most heartfelt forms of appreciation of their careers when a father, who had just returned home from deployment overseas, presented them each with American flags which were flown over a combat mission into Iraq and Syria in their honor.
Jamie Bass, an occupational therapist, and Sarah Robbins, a speech and language pathologist, have been working with 5-year-old Liam Chung for about 6 months at Akron Children’s North Canton office for Rehabilitative Services.
Liam, who has autism, has made great progress working with Jamie and Sarah, said Megan Bailey-Chung, Liam’s mother.
Liam’s father, Capt. Kiet Chung, is a deputy base civil engineer with the Ohio Air National Guard. After being deployed since July, he returned home on Jan. 19 and immediately began to attend Liam’s therapy sessions to get caught up and help with interventions they can work on at home.
While on his mission, he heard about Liam’s progress and, with gratitude, made a request for the flags to be flown in recognition of Jamie and Sarah. The certificates that came with the flags read:
“This is to certify that the accompanying American Flag was flown during a C-130H Combat Mission on the 26th day of October 2017 into Iraq and Syria. It was flown by members of the 387th ESPTS and the crew of CROME 51, while deployed Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait supporting America’s war on terrorism during Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. Capt. Kiet Chung presents this flag in honor of your unwavering support.”
“I was so taken aback by this,” said Jamie. “What an honor! I have never been honored on a personal/career level like this before.”
Sarah was equally touched.
“Sometimes you lose track of the impact that you’re making on your patients and their family’s lives but this was a great reminder of why we do what we do every day,” she said.
Capt. Chung says being away from family is the most difficult aspect of military service but knowing all is well back home helps him cope with the days away, as well as the distance.
“I think I speak for the entire military when I say we just like to do our jobs and complete our missions,” he said. “But knowing that our families are being taken care of makes all the difference in easing the difficulty of not being there.”