North Memorial Ambulance Helps Wounded Warrior Return Back Home


by Tech. Sgt. Lynette Olivares, 133rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

ST. PAUL, Minn. – During a 2013 deployment in Afghanistan, Staff Sgt. Taylor Savage was in a vehicle hit by an improvised explosive device. She suffered extensive life-threatening injuries and has undergone multiple surgeries.

She arrived in Minnesota last fall for the reconstruction of her pelvis at Hennepin County Medical Center. Savage and her mother stayed at the hospital several weeks before moving to a hotel near the Mall of America to recover from the surgery before being cleared to leave Minnesota.

Minnesota military members and Minnesotans around the metro took it upon themselves to make this wounded Airman feel at home during her recovery.

“I had the opportunity to visit with Savage and her mom just before Christmas and witnessed the outpouring of generous donations and support from around the Twin Cities,” said Chief Master Sgt. Kelly Wilkinson, Airman and Family Readiness Program manager at the 133rd Airlift Wing.

The family received dozens of donations, gifts and other items that made them feel a little more comfortable during recovering, states away from home.

“After many individuals heard of her story, they rallied around and helped this family feel at home while being away from home during the holidays,” said Wilkinson. “Both mom and Taylor have expressed to me their deepest appreciation for the people of Minnesota and have said numerous times that they have never been treated so well during this terrible ordeal as they have in Minnesota. She received magnificent medical care at Hennepin Country Medical Center and they are both overwhelmingly astounded by the generosity of the people here.”

The greatest act of the generosity came from metro Minnesota military members when Savage was scheduled to leave. The 133rd Operations Group, 210th Civil Engineers, 109th Aeromedical Squadron, 109th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron and other key leadership at the 133rd Airlift Wing stepped up to help get this airman back home to South Carolina.

Savage and her mom needed assistance transporting her from the hotel to the aircraft when she leaves Minnesota, because an important issue is that she has to be transported by litter. Members throughout the 133rd Airlift Wing teamed up together to help pack her things, transport her and her belongings, and get her on a flight back home; including a traditional member of the 133rd Airlift Wing who works at North Memorial full-time and stepped up and volunteered with a co-worker to provide transportation via ambulance for Savage and her mom.

“She is one of the most resilient people I have ever met,” said Chief Steven Randall, 133rd Communication Flight chief and also a patient who underwent surgery like Taylor by the same doctor. “I know she was in good hands, and I wanted her to see me and that in just a few more months she could be up and walking around like I am.”

Taylor is originally from 628th Medical Group and was deployed with the Army as a first responder. She returned to Scott Air Force Base for continued care and to be closer to her family.