Iraqi Girl Doing Well Following Heart Surgery

Iraqi Girl Doing Well Following Heart Surgery

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Jed Boal ReportingSome Utah National Guard soldiers who recently returned from Iraq completed much more than their assigned mission. The soldiers reached out to an Iraqi family and got a young girl the help she needed.

The five-year-old Iraqi girl is healthier today thanks to Utah soldiers and a surgeon in Maine.

Abdul Al-Hady Hassan Hesab, Noor's Father: "Her health is improving. Even though it was a difficult operation, after everyday I see a progress in her health."

Noor Abd Al-Hady Hassan was born with a hole in her heart. Two engineer units from the Utah National Guard helped rebuild the school where Noor's father works. Cpt. Talon Greef supervised that construction and got to know Noor's father.

Cpt. Talon Greef, 116th Engineer Company: "She had a hole in her heart, and he gave me the medical records, and asked if there was anything we could do to help her."

He contacted Major Joel Miller, Chaplain of the 115th Engineer Group.

Maj. Joel Miller, 115th Engineer Group: “We took it on not really knowing what we needed to do.”

Miller and his assistant Sgt. Ronald Hammond discovered a pediatric heart specialist in Portland, Maine willing to perform the surgery and donate travel and medical costs.

Maj. Joel Miller, 115th Engineer Group: “When I look at Noor, I see so many other children. I see my own children, my own daughter.”

Miller calls Noor an inquisitive, happy playful girl, but the heart defect made her tire quickly.

Cpt. Talon Greef, 116th Engineer Company: “It was a dream. I didn’t think it would really happen, but it did.”

Greef's Company got home 10 days ago; Miller returned two days ago. Both are glad they played a part in helping Noor.

Maj. Joel Miller, 115th Engineer Group: “Now that Iraq has its freedom and is building its freedom, opportunities for her could be endless.”

Noor will spend a couple more weeks recovering in Maine before heading home to Iraq. Meantime, members of the 115th will settled back in with their families and enjoy the feeling of a job well done.

While in Iraq, the 115th Engineer Company helped rebuild schools and police stations, and repave a major highway.

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