Donald Gatling spent 17 years traveling back and forth across the country as an long-haul truck driver. He always felt life on the open road made him free. In 2010, he was diagnosed with ALS and his wife, Angie, began riding with him to ensure his safety. Last year, he had to give up his passion and career of truck driving.
When the 49-year-old hospice patient had the chance to plan his perfect day as part of the Crossroads Hospice Gift of a Day program, he knew he wanted nothing more than the chance to sit behind an 18-wheeler’s dashboard once again.
Crossroads staff reached out to UPS to provide a driver and a vehicle that would remind Gatling of his old rig. They also enlisted the help of the local firefighters to get Gatling in and out of the truck’s cab. The crew was especially proud to help a patient who they learned had spent years as a volunteer fireman.
“As the truck rolled away, I was thinking how much of a joy it is when all the pieces come together to grant someone special their Gift of a Day,” said Susan Vinson, who coordinates Ultimate Gifts for Crossroads Hospice in Tucker, Georgia. “The real credit for putting this together goes to UPS, the fire department, Mr. Gatling’s family, and our staff who do more than expected for each of our patients.” Thanks to the team behind it all, Gatling had the chance to keep on truckin’.
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