Paying It Forward
After serving twenty years in the air force, Michigan native Dave Kelly semi-retired to Las Vegas. Each summer, he returned to Clio, north of Flint, to help his elderly mother. But during his flight to Michigan in May 2010, he became sick to his stomach and was unable to keep food down for days after. What he assumed was a bad case of flu was ultimately diagnosed as a stomach cancer that required immediate surgery and biweekly chemotherapy at the Ann Arbor VA Hospital. Kelly moved back in with his mother and has since been driving his green 1996 GMC Sierra 1500 truck to the hospital for his appointments, chemotherapy treatments, and surgeries.
"I'm fifty-seven, and my mom is eighty-two--too old to be driving me an hour and a half each way," says Kelly.
This past December, en route to an early morning appointment at the VA, Kelly's truck sputtered and stopped at the corner of Main and Depot, just outside Main Street Motors. Service manager Brian Laraway went out to help a frail Kelly get his vehicle off the road. Learning that Kelly had ten minutes to make it to his appointment, Laraway arranged for another employee, George Creswell, to take him to the hospital. On the way, Kelly told Creswell about his cancer, air force career, and later work as a NASCAR tire-prep specialist.