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Six-month-old Vance Hanson and his parents, Hillary and Jason, enjoy a visit from New York City firefighters at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center on Sunday. Spc. Jason Hanson, of Company B, 13th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Division, was shot in the back last week by a sniper near Ramadi, Iraq.

Six-month-old Vance Hanson and his parents, Hillary and Jason, enjoy a visit from New York City firefighters at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center on Sunday. Spc. Jason Hanson, of Company B, 13th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Division, was shot in the back last week by a sniper near Ramadi, Iraq. (Robin Hoecker / S&S)

Six-month-old Vance Hanson and his parents, Hillary and Jason, enjoy a visit from New York City firefighters at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center on Sunday. Spc. Jason Hanson, of Company B, 13th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Division, was shot in the back last week by a sniper near Ramadi, Iraq.

Six-month-old Vance Hanson and his parents, Hillary and Jason, enjoy a visit from New York City firefighters at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center on Sunday. Spc. Jason Hanson, of Company B, 13th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Division, was shot in the back last week by a sniper near Ramadi, Iraq. (Robin Hoecker / S&S)

New York City firefighter Joe Lennon, of the 111th Ladder Company, presents David Conley with a Fire Department of New York pin and a New York Burn Foundation shirt. Conley, a supply driver for Kellogg, Brown, and Root, suffered second and third degree burns on his legs after his truck hit an explosive Monday in Iraq.

New York City firefighter Joe Lennon, of the 111th Ladder Company, presents David Conley with a Fire Department of New York pin and a New York Burn Foundation shirt. Conley, a supply driver for Kellogg, Brown, and Root, suffered second and third degree burns on his legs after his truck hit an explosive Monday in Iraq. (Robin Hoecker / S&S)

FDNY soccer team members gave the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center a signed T-shirt after their visit to patients Sunday morning.

FDNY soccer team members gave the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center a signed T-shirt after their visit to patients Sunday morning. (Robin Hoecker / S&S)

Lt. Mike Sturgis, a firefighter with the 168th Ladder Company in Brooklyn, N.Y., presents Sgt. Conan Marchi, 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment, with a FDNY T-shirt. Marchi has spent nearly one month in the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center after being shot in the pelvis by a sniper on May 20th near Hit, Iraq.

Lt. Mike Sturgis, a firefighter with the 168th Ladder Company in Brooklyn, N.Y., presents Sgt. Conan Marchi, 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment, with a FDNY T-shirt. Marchi has spent nearly one month in the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center after being shot in the pelvis by a sniper on May 20th near Hit, Iraq. (Robin Hoecker / S&S)

LANDSTUHL, Germany — About 30 members of the New York City Fire Department soccer team visited patients Sunday at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, handing out T-shirts, pins, laughs and moral support.

“This is about heroes meeting heroes,” said Col. John Collins, chief of staff at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, which has treated about 30,000 sick and wounded patients since the start of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The visit came at the end of an eight-day tour for the firefighters. They played in three soccer tournaments against German city firefighter teams, attended the Italy vs. U.S. World Cup soccer game in Kaiserslautern, and taught children’s soccer clinics in Baumholder.

“This has been the most special part of our trip,” said Joe Brosi, the team’s captain, of the hospital visit. “It’s been an overwhelming and humbling experience.”

As they went from room to room, firefighters and wounded military members exchanged words of praise and admiration.

“To see what we saw [ON 9/11], things you don’t want to see, that’s what these guys are going through,” said firefighter Joe Lennon, of the 111th Ladder Company.

Lennon understands how it feels to be wounded. In 2004, he suffered third degree burns on his legs and back after passing out in a house fire that burned through his suit. Lennon spent about a month recovering in the Burn Center at New York Presbyterian Hospital.

“I really appreciated having visitors,” he said. “I know what that’s like.”

Lennon’s story of recovery offered hope to patient David Conley, a supply driver for KBR, who suffered third degree burns on his legs when his truck hit an explosive in northern Iraq.

“How long did it take?” Conley asked Lennon.

“About a month. Believe me, you’re gonna be fine,” said Lennon, who then went on to describe in a comforting tone how a skin graft works and how the skin heals.

Conley’s nurse, Sgt. Sara Pruisner, said hearing Lennon’s story would lift his spirits. “It’s important for him to hear someone talk from experience and say it’s going to get better,” she said. “He doesn’t listen to me.”

Conley will fly back on June 20th to Toledo, Ohio, where he will undergo further treatment and be closer to his three children.

“I just can’t believe that they came all the way out here to visit us,” said Conley. “It shows that people back home in America are supporting us.”

Lt. Mike Sturgis of the 168th Ladder Company in Brooklyn, N.Y., said, “We have compassion with what they’re going through.

“Human life is exposed in a lot of ways. They see it in the military and we see it in New York, whether it’s a house fire or a multiple-car crash.”

“You guys were there, at ground zero, when it all started,” said Sgt. Conan Marchi, Company A, 136th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Division, who was shot in the pelvis on May 20 in Hit, Iraq. “I really appreciate you guys coming down here.”

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