SPRING GROVE – Upbeat and good-humored, two brothers, both graduates of Richmond-Burton Community High School, watched mechanics work on the white Chevrolet Silverado, talking parts and generally joking around.
Kienan Wubs, 23, had arranged the donated parts and work with Union-based Calibrated Power Solutions Inc. on Tuesday as a surprise for his brother, Camden Wubs, 27. Kienan, a sergeant with the U.S. Marines, wanted to give his brother something to smile about before he left for his eight-month deployment to Afghanistan because there’s a chance that Camden might not be there when he gets back.
Camden, a senior airman with the Air Force, was diagnosed with cancer in September 2011 while stationed at the British Royal Air Force Station Lakenheath with the 48th Component Maintenance Squadron.
One week later, he was back in the States.
At first, things seemed to be going well. Doctors told the family that the cancer was in remission, said his father, Dan Wubs. But after Christmas, tests revealed that Camden had innumerable growths in his brain.
If the medication he’s taking doesn’t work, he has three months, his father said. The medicine has a 40 to 50 percent success rate, but the family won’t know if it’s working for a month.
“It’s devastating,” Dan Wubs said.
Dan and Cheri Wubs have four children: the two sons and two daughters, Kali, 25, and Kiana, 16.
But as far as Camden is concerned, he’s going to push through it.
“I’ve become a lot closer to God and our religion, and lately I’ve just found an inner peace,” he said. “I have a confidence that I’ve never felt in my life that I’m going to beat this, and I believe that comes from my faith in God. I’m not afraid of this.”
And his brother is confident too, but he added that when he’s deployed, he tries not to think about things that are going on back home so that he stays focused.
“Cam’s a strong dude,” Kienan said. “There’s not a doubt in my mind that [he will] do what he said he was going to do.”
If the worst happens, the Red Cross can contact Kienan and bring him home, he said.
The two brothers are close. They enlisted on the same day: June 3, 2008. Camden joined the Air Force, and Kienan joined the Marines. Their competitiveness bleeds over to a competition between the branches, with one brother surreptitiously raising his branch’s flag higher than the other’s outside their parents’ home or putting a bumper sticker with the wrong branch on the other’s car.
Kienan was supposed to be stationed in Japan, his father said, but because of everything going on with Camden, he found a way to switch units so he could stay in the U.S. longer – but what he’s doing now is more dangerous.
As Camden talks, his eyes drift to the flat-screen TV, which shows the mechanics at Calibrated Power Solutions working on his truck, tuning and upgrading the exhaust system so it gets more horsepower and miles to the gallon.
Camden, his wife, Michelle, and his 17-month-old daughter, Layla, live on the Scott Air Force base about a half hour east of St. Louis. They plan to move back to the Spring Grove area soon to be near family. Because Camden can’t work, he’s been spending most of his days playing with his daughter and researching car parts. He will be medically retired from the Air Force in a few months.
By the end of the day, the improvements added 110 horsepower and 300 feet per pound of torque, putting it firmly into Camaro and Mustang territory, said the company’s president, Nick Priegnitz.