Wearing a mask, Mason Conway slowly walked into his mother’s hospital room, and it took a few seconds for her to realize her son was standing in front of her.
Air Force Staff Sgt. Mason Conway traveled all the way from Italy to visit his mother, Jennifer Conway, while she was recovering in an area hospital after suffering a stroke.
She was resting in the ICU at Ascension St. John when Mason entered the room.
“We were hoping the surprise didn’t give her a heart attack,” said Gregg Conway, Mason’s father and executive director of Tulsa Boys’ Home.
Mason surprised his mother by flying in from Aviano, Italy, where he is stationed. He was flown home by the United States Air Force and the American Red Cross.
“I called Mason to tell him about his mother, and he was pretty shook up,” Gregg said. “He asked if he should come home because he wanted to see her.”
Mason got the blessing of his base commander, and things started happening fast. From the time Gregg called his son, Mason was in Tulsa 72 hours later. The base commander gave Mason information about the Red Cross, which tries to reunite military families after medical emergencies.
However, getting Mason to Tulsa was the easy part.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, only one family member can see the patient for their entire stay in the hospital. The specific visitor cannot change, and Gregg was his wife’s specific visitor. Gregg got on the phone with Ascension St. John, and officials allowed a one-time change for Mason to see his mother.
The soldier will be able to visit his mother for about a week until Gregg is then made the visitor again.
Mason has been in Italy for nearly four years, and he is transferring to Germany for the next three years.
Mason’s wife, Jordan, and their two children, Axel, 4, and Leo, 2, also made the trip, but they haven’t been able to see Jennifer. The visit with Mason was powerful, emotional, uplifting and will no doubt aid in Jennifer’s healing and recovery.
“Her grandbabies are 4 and 2 years old, and she can’t wait to get her mitts around them,” Gregg said.
Jennifer suffered the stroke and had surgery on Wednesday, July 15, and Mason arrived in Tulsa on Sunday, July 19. He was able to visit his mother the next day.