SIOUX CITY | U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, was in Tanzania on Friday, tweeting that he was pleased to see the return of the "miracle children," as they made it back to their home nation after weeks of medical care in Iowa.
King had a hand in getting three young people to Sioux City for medical treatment after a wreck in Tanzania. The three children were the lone survivors of a May 6 school bus crash in Tanzania that killed 33 other seventh graders, two teachers and the bus driver.
Wilson, Sadhia and Doreen -- who suffered severe fractures and neurological problems -- landed in Sioux City in a modified cargo plane with their mothers and two Tanzanian doctors in mid-May.
Mercy Medical Center- Sioux City donated tens of thousands of dollars in medical care to treat the kids, and doctors also donated their time.
The trip to Tanzania was for King "to greet the Tanzanian miracle kids from the tarmac as they walk down from the plane that will return them in mid-to-late August. That is something I have been setting up for weeks," he said in a Journal interview in July.
On Friday, King made that event. His tweets included pictures, and one shared, "#TanzaniaMiracleChildren arrive back home in Tanzania. Doreen, paralyzed in May, walking off the plane in August to huge homecoming."
Dr. Larry Volz, Chief Medical Officer at Mercy, said aiding the Tanzanians fit the hospital goal of compassionately serving the community.
"In the midst of tragedy, we had the privilege of treating these badly injured children and were rewarded with great outcomes and lifetime bonds with Wilson, Doreen and Sahdia along with their families. It was truly a life-changing experience for all of us who interacted with and cared for these children," Volz said in a statement.
Three months ago, medical volunteers with Siouxland Tanzania Educational Medical Ministries (STEMM), were among the first people to come across the crash site, which occurred in the east African nation.
STEMM President Steve Meyer, a Dakota Dunes-based surgeon, said once he had learned about the conditions of the survivors in Tanzania he reached out to King, who is a friend, to see what he could do to get them to the states.
Iowa 4th District Congressman King said he quickly got to work by contacting numerous U.S. embassies requesting any help they could provide.
By 9 a.m. Central Standard Time, King had sent out three tweets about his greeting of the children at Kilimanjaro International Airport in Arusha, Tanzania.