Gavin’s Day “Captain Crayola”
Today is a day that I will remember forever. In August of 2012, Justin Tabor, a medic with Acadian Ambulance (my first full time employer) and his partner, Daislynn Dehart Kimball, transported 6-year-old Gavin from one hospital to another. The hospital staff had given him coloring sheets, but he didn’t have any colors and became upset, telling the medics he was “Captain Crayola” and needed his colors. With permission from Gavin’s mother, they stopped at a store and bought him some Crayolas.
Having been born premature and diagnosed with VACTERL Association, Gavin has cheated the odds and far surpassed his life expectancy. Gavin made quite an impression on Justin with his positive attitude and wonderful spirit in spite of his frequent hospitalizations, and they have become very close. In fact, Justin has contacted the Make-A-Wish America foundation to try to help this little miracle meet his idols: Scotty McCreery, Jason Aldean and Lady Antebellum. He wrote a letter to Crayola introducing them to Gavin, and they were so moved they sent a care package full of new Crayola products just for Gavin and just in time for Christmas. Justin continued to share Gavin’s story with other organizations. The Fight For Life Foundation (www.blakesfight.org) became involved and met Gavin’s family. They were able to surprise the family with an all accommodations paid for trip to Disney World. The trip also included tickets for Justin.
Gavin started to outgrow his current bed. His mother knew that a new bed was needed, but being a single mom with 3, her financial situation didn’t allow for it at the time. When Justin heard this, he took it upon himself to reach out to friends, family, fellow medics and others in an effort to raise $800 to purchase a bunk bed for the family. The response was more than expected and within a few days, Justin had collected in the thousands. Justin and a few volunteers repainted Gavin’s room, put in new flooring and changed the window treatments. With the other funds collected Justin was able to purchase bedding, toys, home accessories, and appliances that were desperately needed by the family. He contacted the city and set up a day to reveal all of these surprises to them. The presentation was emotional and humbling.
Justin did not stop there…The family was treated to a day at the local Chuck-E-Cheese’s, while Justin and volunteers moved all of the items from the presentation into the family’s home. When the family returned from their day of fun, everything was in place for them at home.
Gavin stole the hearts of everyone there. There was not a dry eye under the pavilion.
Through my day to day activities on the job, I see the harsh and negative side of society. I like to think that what I do now is for the greater good and eventually helps the victims of crime to be in a “better place”, but I do miss the emergency medical treatment and response. Today, I was able to visit with other employees from Acadian Ambulance that I once worked with and was reminded that there really are still many good people out there. Acadian Ambulance is by far one of the most professionally, employee oriented agencies out there. The treatment, education, technology, and supervision are superb. It is an honor to say that I once worked for them as a paramedic and consider many of the current employees dear friends.
Today was a reminder, that all it takes is one person to decide to act and help and then from there it is a snowball effect.