As if learning that her husband has suffered two strokes while serving with the military overseas wasn’t challenging enough, Cherie Scalf got that news about after hours on a Friday. That meant that most of the government offices that could help her get to her husband, Master Sgt. Billy Scalf, were already closed for the weekend.
“Obviously, this was a situation where we weren’t going to sit around on our hands for a weekend,” said Brig. Gen. John D. Slocum, the 127th Wing commander at Selfridge Air National Guard Base. “Fortunately, we knew who to call.”
At the other end of Slocum’s line was U.S. Rep. Paul Mitchell, the member of Congress whose district includes Selfridge. Slocum called Mitchell, Mitchell called the White House and, very quickly, things began to happen.
Job one was getting Mrs. Scalf to Germany to be with her husband. The first hurdle was that she didn’t have a passport.
When Mitchell called the White House late on a Friday, he was quickly able to arrange a special Sunday morning appointment at a U.S. State Department office in Chicago. There, a passport was issued and Cherie Scalf was quickly on her way to Germany to be with her husband.
“This is one of the most important things we do,” Mitchell said, shortly after a visit this past week to check in with the Scalfs at the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor, where Billy Scalf continues his recovery. “Our servicemen and women give their all for this country and it is our highest duty to support them and their families in a time of need.”
Slocum and Mitchell made a joint visit to the see the Selfridge master sergeant this past week.
“Master Sgt. Scalf’s attitude is amazing. He’s been through an incredible challenge, but his pride at being part of our U.S. Air Force is obvious. He is a part of what makes our military so amazing – men and women like him,” Mitchell said.
Later in the week, Mitchell said he was at an event in Michigan with Vice President Mike Pence.
“The vice president asked me how our Michigan Airman was doing. I was very pleased to be able to give him a positive update,” Mitchell said.
Slocum said he wasn’t surprised by the Congressman’s quick engagement.
“Part of what makes the 127th Wing such a special organization is the support we have from our elected leaders at the local, state and federal levels. On behalf of our 1,700 Citizen-Airmen, we sincerely appreciate Rep. Mitchell’s assistance,” Slocum said.
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