US Army First Sargent on Mission to Find Kidney For ’68 Olympic Gold & Bronze Sprinter Charlie Greene
Retired US Army First Sargent Patrick Simon Remembers University of Nebraska Track and Field Great Charlie Green As an Outstanding US Army Officer
By Will Cummings
Imagine that deep inside your being you have always carried the knowledge that most of what you have accomplished in your lifetime you owe to a special person who served as your role model and who mentored and guided you down the right path at a very crucial time in your life when everything around you seemed to be falling apart, but you never really got the chance to tell that person how much they meant to you and how their actions and friendship prepared and inspired you to achieve throughout your life. Until a couple of days ago, this is the predicament that US Army First Sargent (retired) Patrick Simon faced, nearly three decades after losing touch with his former superior, mentor and friend: US Army Major Charles “Charlie” Greene—an Olympic Gold and Bronze medalist who at one moment in history laid claim to the title “Fastest Man in the World” by sprinting 100 meters faster than any human ever.
Patrick Simon was a troubled youth who ran away from home and “joined” the Army—well let’s just say that it was his best option at the time. And still carrying the baggage from his past, Simon struggled early on in his military career. But thanks in large measure to Major Greene’s influence, Simon would rise to the rank of First Sargent, finish college, earn a master’s degree and produce a very impressive post-military work resume in the field of business technologies and communications. Simon is currently the Chief Executive Officer and President of , located in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Unlike most of us when we here the name “Charlie Greene,” Simon does not see him as a world record-breaking 100 meter sprinter or winner of Gold & Bronze Medals at the1968 Olympic Games. Instead, Simon’s entire conceptualization of Greene is that of an outstanding black army officer and soldier who rose to the rank of Major, a caring soul who befriended him, bolstered his self-esteem, guided him through his marital crisis and a man who inspired and helped him to further his education and army career and set the stage for his post-military business success.
Often times the Christmas holiday season has a way of causing one to reflect upon those who touched their lives in the most profound way. Such is the case for Patrick Simon during this holiday season. As Simon thought about his troubled youth and then looked around at all that he had manged to achieve, he was thankful to God for all that he enjoyed. But Simon also knew that if it were not for Major Charles Greene’s presence in his life his fate would have been much different. Deeply troubled by the notion that he never expressed to Major Greene his gratitude and appreciation for taking him under his wing, those many years ago, he decided to track down the man he last touched base with back in the mid 1980’s. So Simon sat down at his computer and typed the name “Charles Greene” into his web browser search engine. The Internet search eventually led him to an article on this site (myHitnews.com) titled Wade: The Football:Part II of Life Saving Brain Surgery Sparks Star HS Football Player’s Ambition. As Simon read the post he was devastated to learn that this special person in his life, Major Charles Greene, is slowly dying from kidney failure and is in desperate need of a transplant.
After Simon finished digesting the horrible news, he posted a comment to the article on our web site praising Greene’s contribution to his life and distinguished service to his country, Most importantly, he wanted information on how to get a hold of him.
One of Greene’s close friends, Otha “Tommy” Wade, read Simon’s post request and responded by providing him with Greene’s contact information.
Otha Wade is Owner/Operator of Tommy Wade State Farm Insurance Agency and resides in Charlie Greene’s hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska. Consequently, in addition to their daily telephone conversations they are able to visit one another on a regular basis. Lately, Wade has become very concerned about Charlie’s condition. He believes that Charlie is living on borrowed time unless a donor match comes soon. “The dialysis treatment that Charlie undergoes three times a week really seems to be taking its toll on him,” Wade said.
Otha has tried everything possible to find a donor for his friend, Charlie–including going as far trying to donate his own kidney. Unfortunately, Wade ‘s tissue was no match for Greene.
Thanks to Wade, Simon finally got his chance to express his pent up feelings of gratitude and admiration for Major Greene, during an emotional heartfelt telephone conversation that happened just a couple of days ago. And now it looks like Wade has another potent ally to help him find a kidney for Charlie.
First Sergeant (Retired) Patrick Simon is now on a mission to save Major Greene’s life by doing everything he can to find a donor match for Charlie Greene. In evidence of his sincerity, Simon has allowed me to share the comment he posted on this site as well as excerpts from his email correspondence with Otha Wade in regards to his telephone conversation with Greene and some details about his service in the US Army.
It is our hope that by sharing this information that others out there will see that this Nebraska Cornhusker track and field legend is much more than a former great sprinter. Charlie Greene has given this county and the world so much–he deserves our very best attempts to prolong his life.
Patrick Simon’s myHitNews.com Comment Post
“My name is First Sergeant (Retired) Patrick Simon and I served very proudly with Major (Retired) Charlie Greene on the US Army Systems and Evaluation Team Far East (Korea, Okinawa and Japan) and we worked for the Department of the Army Washington DC. Major Greene led a very important team with a very important mission and was a great leader and officer! I saw this entry about his kidney issue and I would like to contact him. Please help.”
Email to Otha Wade From Patrick Simon: Simon’s Phone Call to Major Greene
“Thank you so very much we spoke this morning. This made my XMAS. I have to admit that I had a chance to thank him for some special favors as a soldier, I broke done and just cried. Major Greene is a special human being.
As a soldier I never “unlaced my boots” and as of today I am on a very special mission. Charlie will get a Kidney and we are going to save his life. He will call me back with a number to the Nebraska Kidney Group he is working with and I am going to get some other Army retirees invloved in this as well. When we get a clearer picture of what we are up against, we will get a plan together. I have a idea and we will move forward.”
Email To Otha Wade From Patrick Simon: Major Greene’s Role in Helping to Shape the Modern Day Army
“…As a side note, when I met Charlie we were both assigned to a special Department of the Army Personnel & Systems Evaluations and Inspection Team-Far East-Korea-Okinawa-Japan (PERMAS). The Army was in the storm of huge transition to the all volunteer professional soldiers you see today. Our responsibility was to insure accurate systems reporting and that Army regulations and HR policies were working in the field. We were the “Top Guns” of Army personnel systems and policy. Major Greene was the Chief of the team. I was a team member and I specialized in finance and data systems. We helped change Army regulations and modified systems and made the Army work to serve those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for freedom. We took our work very seriously and we were the best in the Army professionally speaking-a Major Greene most people do not know…..My success however small is due to him, his efforts and his time to make me a better human being and soldier.
I was going through a terrible divorce in the states, trying to go to college at night, meet my obligations to the army and the team and just “be all I could be”. Charlie saw me struggling with life and the Army and took the time to make me look at things differently and he helped repair a very badly damaged self-esteem. I ran away from home and joined the Army. Though Charlie I found my life’s mission and calling. So I am attaching my resume and my retirement Army award narrative that was read at my retirement.”
Major Greene never knew the product of his work and what I went on to accomplish and the world is a better place for it! Sometimes God gives you a chance to repay some special debts, however strange this developed for Christmas, my chance is now before me.”
Patrick J. Simon
First Sargent (Retired) US Army
CEO/President, Beehive Technology Solutions LLC
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays Charlie Greene. We are Working To Ensure
That You Enjoy Many More To Come.