In life—especially in a small town—there’s always at least a few people who regularly bring a smile to your face, even if you don’t know them by name. It might be a cashier at the store who always goes the extra mile to bag your groceries carefully and efficiently. It might be the newspaper hawker at the Metro stop who makes it a point to cheerfully greet everyone who passes by. You’re aware of them. You don’t know them personally, but they’ve made an impression on you somewhere along the line, and when someone mentions them, you instantly know who they’re talking about.
And when that mention includes terrible news about that person, it touches you. Even though you don’t know them personally.
I’ve experienced this more than a few times, as I’m sure most of you have, too. But I’m writing because it happened again tonight; and I think this time around, we can pull some extra help.
I heard from longtime friends, Jeanette and Mark Henkin, that their neighbor and dear friend Rick Heyer is battling pulmonary fibrosis.This is something else that hits close to home, literally. Just last year, the wonderful Jim McCeney—longtime chairman of the Laurel Historical Society—lost his life to this terrible disease.
Rick needs a double lung transplant—something doctors have said he is actually a good candidate for.
Rick is 68 years old and a U.S. Navy veteran; and sadly, his military service may have contributed to his condition. Unfortunately, the hospitals will not put him on the lung transplant list until he gets secondary insurance—and providers have turned him down. There is a 20% portion that Medicare does not cover, and as you’d imagine, that 20% is astronomical: it’s $200,000.
When Jeanette mentioned Rick’s name, I drew a blank. But as soon as she mentioned the vehicle he drives, I knew exactly who he was. Rick is the gentleman who routinely drives his antique Good Humor Ice Cream truck in Laurel’s parades and local car shows.
The 1930 Ford Model A is always in immaculate condition, and countless kids and adults of all ages flock to it. The mere sight of the truck—especially at those scorching 4th of July parades—immediately makes you crave ice cream. But after just a few moments in its presence, you forget all about the ice cream. You’re transported to another era. The love and care that Rick put into restoring it—one of only a very few original ice cream trucks to survive—is readily apparent.
That truck is his pride and joy, but his health is the most important thing. Rick has already listed it on eBay in an effort to raise the necessary funds for his surgery, and his family has also started a GoFundMe page in hopes of reaching that goal as soon as possible.
So I’m here to ask you—won’t you also give what you can to help?
If you happen to have the cash on hand to buy an extremely rare 1930 Ford ice cream truck, that would be fantastic; but honestly, just as helpful would be a small donation from the rest of us who appreciate the joy this gentleman has brought simply by sharing his truck with Laurel over the years. Come on, Laurel—you can afford to pitch in the cost of an ice cream cone. If we all just gave $5, this goal can be met.
Let’s do this.
GoFundMe page: https://www.gofundme.com/hope-for-rick-heyer
eBay listing: http://www.ebay.com/itm/222368810121
In addition to contributing, you can help simply by sharing this story and these important links. Thanks very much.
Thanks for doing Lost Laurel and pieces like this. You’re a good man Richard.