An elderly veteran with physical ailments planned to walk 100 miles to a doctor’s appointment until Alabama deputies offered help.
On a rainy Wednesday, deputies from multiple jurisdictions came to the aid of Gulf War veteran Gerald Baldwin, who was spotted walking down a road with an oxygen tank. Baldwin explained to a Walker County Sheriff’s Office deputy that he was trying to walk and hitchhike to an important doctor’s appointment 100 miles away.
“[It was an] appointment he was told he could not miss,” the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office explained in a post on Facebook. “With no way to get there, he said he started walking.”
To help him along the way, the deputy drove Baldwin to the border of Cullman County, where he was retrieved by a deputy from their jurisdiction. That sparked a series of deputies from different counties working together — one dropping him off, the other picking him up — to get him to the appointment on time.
“The deputy then transported him to the Morgan County Line where a Morgan County Sheriff Deputy took over and met a Madison County Sheriff Office Deputy in Huntsville who finished the trip and took the man to his appointment,” the post explained.
The next day, the departments worked together again to get the man back to Walker County.
“After an overnight stay, we were happy to do it all again today,” the post continued, “… to help get the man back home.”
The Facebook post quickly garnered a lot of reaction on the platform, earning more than 233,000 likes and tens of thousands of comments. Because of the attention it received, the department said that Baldwin’s son, Lance Baldwin, was alerted to his father’s situation.
“In an unforeseen turn of events,” the department said in an update, “the man’s son saw the post and recognized the disabled vet as his father who he had not seen or talked to in several years. Hopefully they can reconnect!”
WAFF-TV reported that Lance hadn’t spoken to his father in nearly five years because of “bad blood.”
RELATED VIDEO: Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Saves Man Stranded On Train Tracks
“I couldn’t bring myself to message him. It’s just a lot of bad blood between us,” he told the station. “But I knew his health was declining and he had cancer surgery the last time we spoke. I should’ve been there more.”
“I’ve read that post a dozen times over and over again,” Lance continued. “I still can’t believe they went as far as they did to get him where he needed to be, and then to do it again in reverse to take him back home… I’m not a religious person, but somebody was up there watching.”
WLS-TV reported the father-son duo reconnected this week.
“It was really good to hear from him … I want to make amends for things in the past that stopped us from communicating,” Lance told the news station.