Honor Flight Adventure on September 11th
Don will be 83 in October. Three years ago, The Fond du Lac Lutheran Home, the skilled nursing program of Lutheran Homes & Health Services (LHHS) at 244 N. Macy St. became Don’s home after nerve damage from 40 years of over- the- road truck-driving left him unable to move. Surgery, his doctors and specialists advised, offered only a fifty percent chance of improvement.
Don began physical therapy. Marlene Snell, LPN at LHHS recalls running to Don’s room one day after he called out for her. “Look at this, he said. I looked and his finger was twitching – the first sign of movement, a small miracle.” Today, physical therapy has restored Don’s upper body movement and transformed his life.
Don was invited to travel to The Korean War Memorial in Washington D.C. as part of the Appleton Honor Flight. Marlene remembers Don getting a phone call from the Honor Flight organization asking if he’d be interested in going. Everyone of the LHHS staff - Don’s extended family – vowed to do whatever was needed to help Don make the trip. It has been a long process. A May 30 visit from an Honor Flight clinical team to evaluate Don’s ability to make the journey was the final hurdle. Don has been doing additional physical therapy to strengthen the core muscles needed to help transfer himself from one seat to another throughout the trip.
Marlene Snell accompanied him on the one day adventure. Her nursing experience benefited the flight. The National Honor Flight paid her expenses in exchange for her acting as medical staff and helping other Honor Flight travelers as needed. Marlene says of the experience, "It was an emotional and moving experience that wouldn't have been possible without the help of all of the LHHS team members."
Don said "I enjoyed seeing all of the memorial but the most impactful part was the welcome from thousands of people in the airport upon our return. I've never shaken so many hands in my life."