Green Country Veteran Battles Lou Gehrig's Disease

Sunday, February 27th 2011, 10:18 pm
By: News On 6

Laura Moss, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- A Tulsa man has fought for his country all over the world. Now, his biggest battle is with his own body.

A husband, a wife, four daughters, four dogs and one big need: a home with handicap accommodations.

"This house of which we've raised our kids.  We're gonna need to move on," said Docia-Gayle Garrett.

In December 2009 VA doctors diagnosed Master Sergeant Tom Garrett with Lou Gehrig's disease. He was told he only had a few years to live.

But you wouldn't know it.

"It's not that bad," Tom said through the aid of a computer which was given to him by the Veteran's Associate.

He served 12 tours in the Middle East with the U.S. Air Force and 22 years with the Tulsa Air National Guard.

"He loved serving his country. We always said that if Tom bleeds anything he bleeds red, white & blue," Docia-Gayle said.

Doctors say Sergeant Garrett will soon be wheelchair-bound. To accommodate this, they're drawing up plans for a new house.

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"Our goal is that we make a whole bunch of fun memories in whatever God provides," Docia-Gayle said.

Narrow hallways and crowded bathrooms are just a few of the issues the family will encounter as the symptoms progress.

"We want it to be where it won't become difficult and irritating for him," Docia-Gayle said.

Money is tight, and Doscia-Gayle says it will be challenging to afford the new home, but they still have hope.

"We just choose to cuddle and enjoy every day, even in the heartache," she said.

The VA will not offer the Garretts any grant money for the build until it affects his legs.  And by then, his family says it'll be too late.

But when Tom does end up in a wheel chair, his girls do have a request. They want it to be Black or Blue.

"She said as long as daddy doesn't have a red wheel chair, they don't go as fast as the black or blue ones," said Docia-Gayle.

A fund has been set up to help the Garretts. Donations can be made to:

Garrett Family Fund
P.O. Box 141222
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma 74014