A few pictures from Doug's Walmart Heart event today! Thanks to the efforts of Sam Cornwell, who was in high school when I was, his wonderful team of Walmart Heart drivers, and the manager and staff at the Ithaca Walmart, Doug (and the rest of us!) had a very special day. Doug was made an honorary Walmart driver, complete with his own uniform shirt with his name on the front and a name badge attached! He received a bunch of goodies, including a Walmart Driver coffee cup, from which he will be drinking his morning coffee for probably the rest of his life, and a die cast Walmart Heart truck similar to the one he is posing next to with his new buddies in the picture above. I had to make room on the Jeff Gordon shelf for Doug's new truck! When I first explained to Doug that they would be doing this for him, I don't think he really got it. Hey, I didn't really get it until today, and I sniffled through a good deal of the event! I have been talking with him about it more the past few days, and I heard him in the hall this morning talking to the dogs, "Hey gogs, I know you're gonna miss me today, but I won't be gone long, and it's a good day! I might be on the news!!" I never mentioned the news, but Doug thinks if it's a big event, like his special 40th and 50th birthday parties, that it will be on the news!! So that was my first eye leakage of the day. After Doug received his honorary driver shirt and his goodies, they had another surprise for us. Seems Sam left this part out of the explanation when he called me to arrange for the event. They asked for me, as Doug's caregiver, to come up. The drivers had had a fundraising barbeque, and presented me with a check!! When we were discussing the event, and all that would go on, Sam said they would have some gifts for Doug. I told him Doug really didn't need anything, and so please use any money for gifts to make a donation toward an organization that could use it. For his 50th birthday, we asked for donations to Doug's former school, and Doug was able to present a check to them of about $600! They created a special activities fund, and used the money for extra activities for their current students. I hope their fund is still active, as Doug has another check to present! His school and his teachers had such an impact on him, and he has such great memories of the years he spent there, that it is the perfect place for him to make a contribution. Hopefully we can figure out a way to donate some to the organization where he currently attends some recreational events as well.
After all the presenting, they had a special heart shaped cake to share, and Doug got a ride around the parking lot in one of the big rigs they brought in for the event. Doug's sister Valerie has been feeling better, and was able to come from Hospicare for the event. My mom, his other sister that lives locally, also went along on another ride around the parking lot with Doug. A fabulous, fun day for Doug and for us! He has had so much loss these past few years, and we have some tough days ahead, but today was SO WONDERFUL! I cannot say enough about the dedication of the Walmart drivers, who started this program, and make all the arrangements for the event. One driver there today was even there on his day off!!
I hope these pictures give you even a small glimpse of what the Walmart Heart event was like for us! I have tried to include a small snippet of video of Sam introducing Doug--we'll see if it works!