KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) - Courtyards Senior Living in Knoxville helped coordinate a surprise for a local veteran who is nearing the end of his life.
Frank Doris has been in hospice care, but decided he wanted to go home to his former residence at Courtyards to spend his last days among those he is closest to and his dog, Lil Bit.
"He doesn't have family who is local, so we became family," said Jody Daugherty, executive director of Courtyards Senior Living.
Daugherty said although his last wish was to be home at the living center, they wanted to do more for this longtime truck driver and veteran who served in the Vietnam War.
Courtyards reached out to Loudon County Trucking Company to see if they would pay him a visit. The company coordinated a visit from the Wounded Warrior truck. They drove the truck into the parking lot at Courtyards and allowed him to see a big rig in person one more time.
"When he saluted the medallion on the truck it got everybody's attention. Just unbelievable, the pride this gentleman had in his eyes, he was a true marine," said James Jameson, Loudon County Trucking Company.
Those who have spent time taking care of Doris at Courtyards said it was a moment they'll never forget.
"We're honored to be a part of his life and the joy we saw in his face today absolutely captures what Christmas is all about," said Daugherty.
Doris spent a career devoted to truck driving for more than 20 years. He was accompanied always by his companion, his dog Lil Bit throughout his career.