Sunday, March 19th, PruittHealth Fort Oglethorpe helped fulfill a dream for one long-time sports enthusiast.
Raymond Byrd, suffering with Parkinson’s, has never let the disease stop him. After moving to PruittHealth, he tried to recruit a resident softball team without success. He had a great desire to go to a game again and after interviewing him about his dreams, I was excited, believing we could make this happen. Mr. Byrd had been the Recreational Director for Camp Jordan (a local community recreational establishment) for many years. Having played, coached, umpired, and directed the camp, playing ball is in his blood. His dream was to go to a game again and to act as umpire. With the help of Camp Jordan, this dream became a reality this past Sunday. Everything fell in to place for Raymond’s big day!
Sunday was opening season for the adult leagues; the perfect occasion to surprise him and let
him be part of the games. It was Camp Jordan’s idea to make this an official “Everybody Loves
Raymond loves life and is very content living at PruittHealth. He enjoys sharing daily jokes and making music-mix CDs for staff and residents alike.
I felt It only right to have matching softball t-shirts for the event and wondered which slogan would best fit the occasion. “Well everybody loves Raymond”, I thought, “so let’s go with it.” Sixty-five shirts later, we were ready to play ball!
Catoosa Trans-Aid also volunteered to transport seven residents to the game. One lady who has not been out of the facility since she moved in exclaimed, “I have butterflies in my stomach!”, and was ready and waiting by the front door the day of the event.
All volunteers, family, staff, and residents - as well as Camp Jordan staff - were ready for Raymond to arrive. The festivities began with a police escort, followed by a prayer, the national anthem, presentation of a plaque, an official Umpire shirt and hat – oh, and let’s not forget the clicker! Sunday was officially “Everybody Loves Raymond Day” at Camp Jordan.
Safely behind the fence at home plate, Raymond once again joyfully shouted “Play ball”!