PARWAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Sgt. Andreas Buttner, a flight medic in Company C, 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion of Task Force Phoenix, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, displayed his selfless side, not during a combat medical mission, but for a fellow soldier in Company C Nov. 13.
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Raymond Jugal was recently informed that his 6-year-old daughter, Johanna, had been diagnosed with lymphoma, a disease that affects the body’s lymphoid tissue.
“Johanna is a very young girl and a disease of this type can overtake her small body very quickly if found too late,” said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Erika Richardson, a flight medic for Company C.
Johanna’s family was originally told that she had a bad case of mumps that would not go away. Her symptoms progressively got worse.
Johanna suddenly fell into a coma due to the rapid spread of her undetected condition. The young girl was hospitalized in an isolation room with the hope that she would recover and come out of her coma.
Buttner, a native of Fulda, Germany, knew he wanted to help the family when he found out what had happened to Jugal’s daughter, even though he did not know him personally.
He decided to hold a fundraiser on Bagram Airfield by selling homemade pizzas to soldiers in an attempt to help the family with the expenses that were already quickly accruing. He had prior experience with cooking and knew that it would be appreciated by other soldiers.
“I used to be a chef in a restaurant many years ago, and pizza was one of my biggest sales,” said Buttner. “I used to sell between 300 and 600 pizzas a week made from scratch.”
With ingredients his wife and family sent him, plus some helpful contributions from other people, Buttner and U.S. Army Capt. Melanie Sims, a flight nurse with Company C and a native of Eureka, Calif., tackled the pizzamaking with high hopes of raising enough money to help the Jugal family’s pocketbook.
“The pizza fundraiser wasn't just an excuse to have great homemade pizza,” said U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Nicholas Anderson from San Bernardino, Calif. “It was for a good cause. We hope the [Company C] family was able to make a difference for Johanna and the Jugal Family. Sgt. Buttner had his heart in the right place. Not just for hosting an event that boosted morale, but for wanting to help out a fellow noncommissioned officer and his family.”
After 9 1/2 hours of cooking pizza, Buttner and Sims made 40 pizzas, served about 33 people and raised $1,180 in donations for Jugal’s family.
“The suggestion that was made for a fundraiser by Sgt. Buttner rang out as an act of complete selflessness and kindness toward people he hardly knew,” said Richardson, a native of Chicago, Ill., “I wanted to support him in any way I could. People came from all over [Bagram Air Field] to participate in something they knew would not only help change the life of a fellow soldier not wounded by combat, but a father who was wounded by an enemy he couldn't see.”