Life can be very cruel—especially when you're diagnosed with a disease that's stealing a little bit of your life every day.
But, there can be beautiful moments in the midst of such a crisis.
That is what Paragould resident Gary Lewis experienced yesterday. 18-wheelers rolled into the Walmart parking lot just for the occasion. Gary, watching from his wheelchair, couldn't stop the flow of tears as fellow drivers, part of the Walmart Heart Team, rolled in just for him. You see Gary worked for many years as a truck driver for Walmart. But, just last year he was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. He can no longer drive one of the big rigs.
So thanks to the careful coordination of the Walmart Heart Team, which is a group of truck drivers who work to lift the spirits of children and adults with chronic medical conditions—family and friends packed the Garden Center of the Paragould Walmart to let Gary know how much they thought of him.
There were many hugs, lots of uncontrollable tears… a show of support that we see so rarely these days.
In our fast-paced, sometimes self-centered lives, we can easily forget the trials of others. But, what made the event so special was that EVERYONE joined in. Mayor Mike Gaskill proclaimed it "Gary Lewis Day." A caravan of transport trucks started the celebration with Lewis' grandchildren taking the lead, the Paragould High School drum line played and, as a special show of respect… Wal-Mart associates lined the aisles…showing respect to a man loved by so many.
Perhaps we, all, could follow this example… letting someone who is struggling in this life know we care. Showing them we're here for them and, most importantly, how much they mean to us makes this A Better Region 8.
- Chris Conroy, KAIT VP and General Manager
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