Soldiers bring out big trucks to 'brighten' day of German twins

Damien Nelson and his mother Sonja inside a UH-60 helicopter, March 18, 2017, as they visited a display that allowed Damien and his brother Malik explore military vehicles.


By MARTIN EGNASH | STARS AND STRIPES Published: March 18, 2017

GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — Soldiers rounded up some heavy metal Saturday for disabled German twins who love trucks and big equipment.

Dozens of soldiers showed up on their day off to set up firetrucks, Humvees and UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters at Grafenwoehr Army Airfield so twins Malik and Damien Nelson, who have a condition called spasticity, could see them up close.

“When I got the call a few weeks ago to see if this (event) was possible, of course, I said, ‘yes.’ It was just the right thing to do,” said Capt. Matthew Colsia, the operations officer who organized the display. “We wanted to give them a good day and make them happy. We also get to pay back the community a little bit.”

Grafenwoehr gate guards, who work with the twins’ mother, Sonja Nelson, wanted to do something nice for the twins, so they called some U.S. soldiers to see if they could help.

“We were shocked at how quickly they said ‘yes,’ without any hesitation. They really wanted to just brighten the twins’ day,” said Maik Guehne, a gate guard who works with Nelson.

The boys spent several hours exploring the equipment and vehicles and climbed inside a giant tractor, their favorite vehicle.

“The boys had a great day,” said Nelson. “It was so nice of them to set this up and for so many soldiers to come here and just treat them like regular kids: joke with them, show them around. The boys really liked it.”

When they were finished exploring, Malik and Damien were presented with U.S. Army hats and made honorary Army captains.

“It is so much more than I thought it would be,” Nelson said. “It’s almost too much. We’re very grateful.”

Twitter: @Marty_Stripes


Damien and Malik Nelson, special-needs patients treated to a private military vehicle display, being awarded the title of Honorary Captain in the U.S. Army.

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