Family Fighting The Clock To Bring Dying Soldier Home To Kansas

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

We've got an update on a story we continue to follow on a family's fight to bring their dying soldier back to Kansas. His family tells us he finally made it home around nine Thursday evening.

He left earlier Thursday by ambulance from a hospital in Fort Hood, Texas back to his home in El Dorado.

Hal Neukirch was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor December of 2010. This month, his family reached out asking the community for help to bring him home to El Dorado. They received thousands of dollars in donations and were even offered a free medical flight, but last week, Hal's lung collapsed and put those plans on hold.

His family says because of his declining health, they had to bring Hal home in an ambulance. He is now home in El Dorado with all of his family.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

We have an update on a Kansas family's efforts to bring a dying soldier home to spend his last few days.

Hal Neukirch's family tells KAKE News that the soldier is en route to Kansas and will arrive tonight.

Butler EMS is helping escort the soldier to his hometown.

The family says they are grateful for all the support that viewers have been giving them.

For more updates, visit this link: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/halneukirchjr

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February 17, 2012

Hal Neukirch was supposed to fly home this Sunday, but a collapsed lung last night put those plans on hold.

Hal's sister tells us he is stable right now, doctors are waiting to put in a chest tube until Saturday morning; she says that's a good sign.

The Neukirchs say this latest health setback is the only thing keeping Hal at Fort Hood.

When we spoke to Hal Neukirch's wife Thursday night, she was already grateful for the donations people had made to bring Hal home.

“I just want to thank every body from the bottom of my heart I don't even know how to express this kind of thanks,” Pamela Neukirch said.

That was just the beginning. All day long people from across the country, have heard the soldier's story and asked how can they help.

“The support and the prayers have been; it's made a huge difference, a huge difference,” Hal's sister Tiffany Neukirch Demo said.

Not only did the Hal Neukirch Jr. Benefit Fund raise all the money needed to pay for the medical flight scheduled for Sunday; EagleMed, a critical care flight service here in Wichita, stepped up and offered to pick up Hal and fly him home, free of charge.

But even though the Nuekirch's have overcome the financial obstacles that stood in the way of their soldier's homecoming; his sudden turn for the worse Thursday night has still put his trip home on standby.

“We've got to hope, we can't do anything else but hope or we wouldn't be standing,” Demo said.

While the Neukirch family waits at the hospital in fort hood for Hal to improve, they have just one more favor to ask.

“Please keep him in your prayers, this chest tube it has to work, we need it to work,” Demo said.

The people with EagleMed tell us they have a plane and pilot on standby and will be ready to go as soon as Hal is healthy enough to fly.

Hal's sister told us their family plans on using the money raised in Hal's benefit fund to help another family in a similar situation.

February 17, 2012

Hal Neukirch's family tells KAKE news the soldier took a turn for the worse Thursday night. His lung collapsed and it is now unclear if he will be able to travel home like he and his family originally had hoped.

The Neukirch family has been trying to raise $15,000 to fly Hal safely back to El Dorado from Fort Hood, TX. Our phones here in the KAKE Newsroom have been ringing off the hook with calls from people in Kansas and even across the country hoping to help the Neukirch family.

Hal's sister tells us if Hal is unable to fly home, they will use the money they have raised so far towards some type of memorial or scholarship in Hal's name.

February 16, 2012

The family of an El Dorado soldier is fighting the clock to bring him home for his final few days.

39 year old Hal Neukirch has been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. He is in a hospital in Fort Hood right now and in order to travel safely back to Kansas, he needs to be flown with medical professionals and an oxygen tank. His family says they found a group that can get him home by this Sunday, but it will cost them $15,000.

In 2009, the now 39 year old decided to join the Army. But, while he was in Afghanistan fighting for his country, Hal Neukirch began the fight of his life.

“They sent him in for a CAT scan and that's when they found the brain tumor,” Hal's wife Pamela Neukirch told us.

She says Hal was diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme.

“We found out it's inoperable, as far as not being able to take all of it out and there is no cure for this type of tumor anywhere in the world,” Pamela Neukirch said.

Over the last 14 months, Neukirch has had surgery, gone through radiation and chemotherapy, even participated in a clinical trial; but every time he has shown signs of improving, the tumor has grown back.

Pamela tells us her husband was supposed to have another surgery this month, when they were dealt another devastating blow.

“He developed a clot in his lung almost the size of half of his lung, and because of that they are not able to do the surgery because he has to be on blood thinners for the clot,” Pamela Neukirch told us.

Pamela says just last week, she and Hal made a difficult decision.

“You know after 14 months of fighting this we've decided to give him the best quality of life that he can with the life that he has left,” she told us.

She says now, Hal just wants to go home to El Dorado.

“He wants to be in his hometown, he wants to be in the home he grew up in. We talked back in June or July about the possibility of this happening because they did tell us you know you are going to die from this tumor the only question is when,” Pamela Neukirch said.

The Neukirch family tells us they believe there are probably other ways to bring Hal home, that might not cost as much but they're afraid it would take time they just don't have.

They say they need to raise the $15,000 by this Saturday . If you want to help, you can contact any INTRUST Bank in Kansas or Oklahoma.....and ask to donate to the Hal Neukirch Jr. benefit fund.


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