Air Guard Airman Gives Gift to Man with Cerebral Palsy

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Beth Holliker
  • 180th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
One Airman assigned to the 180th Fighter Wing recently demonstrated excellence in his Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan communities, when he provided a generous gift to a 32-year-old man, who was born with cerebral palsy.

Senior Airman Jacob Sorosiak, a Guard Airman with the 180th FW weapons section, gave Bradley Oehler and his family an opportunity to visit Florida's Walt Disney World.

Sorosiak's generous nature started when he was a youth when he first saw Oehler in his neighborhood, approximately 12 years ago. At 10 years old, Sorosiak would wave to Oehler as he passed his home in Toledo. At the time Sorosiak did not know Oehler, who would spend hours outside enjoying the sights, but he wanted to do something special for him.

"Since I've been really little, there's always been a boy that sits outside on Alexis Road," said Sorosiak. "I'd known him as a boy and he sits outside every day."
Sorosiak said that growing up in the area, he did not know exactly why Oehler was in a wheel chair, and he did not know the Oehler family, but he wanted to do something special for him

"Jake's generosity truly shows the compassion that our Airmen have for the communities in which they have grown up in, live and work in on a day to day basis," said Maj. Gen. Mark E. Bartman, Assistant Adjutant General for Air and Interim Adjutant General for Ohio. "The Air and Army National Guard members are "Always There, Always Ready.""

Sorosiak decided he wanted to save money to send Oehler and his family on a trip to Disney World in Florida. He promised his parents that he was going to save enough money to send Oehler on the trip. This became Sorosiak's childhood dream.

"I am proud to have someone of Senior Airman Sorosiak's character as a part of our unit," said Col. Craig Baker, 180th FW commander. "He is dedicated and giving.

"I told my parents that I was going to take him to Disney World," Sorasiak said during a recent interview. "They didn't take me seriously. They never thought I would follow it through. I told myself that once I am working full time I will save up the money to do it ... I thought about it every single day."

After graduating from Bedford High School in 2010, Sorasiak joined the Ohio Air National Guard. Sorasiak, now 22, recently started his civilian career with Bedford Community Education as a recreational director. In September 2014, Sorasiak delivered $2,000 to Oehler and his family to fulfill a promise made to himself nearly 12 years ago. The trip to Disney World is planned for March.

"I told myself that once I get a real job when I get older, I'm gonna do it," Sorosiak said. "I'm gonna go to that family and give them my first couple of pay checks, and just give it to them and tell them the story."

Once word got out about the sacrifice and generosity of Sorasiak, the community started to get involved. Residents who read about his generosity in the local paper, the Toledo Blade, began sending donations to Oehler ranging from $10 to $500 to help with the trip.

Sorosiak efforts started a climate of giving in his community. He not only demonstrated that he gives back to his nation, but he also evokes the core values of the Air Force.

"When I put my head to [do] something, usually I do it," said Sorosiak. "If you want to do something, you have to push yourself to do it; it's been something that's been internal inside of me."

"Senior Airman Sorosiak demonstrates the Air Force's core values, he is the kind of Airman that demonstrates how the Air National Guard is a part of our community," said Baker. "I applaud his efforts and dedication of giving back to our community."

Watch our exclusive interview with Senior Airman Sorosiak:
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