Last week a deputy from the Walker County Sheriff’s Office in Jasper, Alabama came across an elderly man with an oxygen tank walking along the side of the road.
Upon speaking with the man the deputy learned he was a Gulf War veteran named Gerald Baldwin and was on his way to an important medical appointment. He also learned that unless he was able to hitchhike, Baldwin was planning to travel on foot all the way to Huntsville, Alabama some 90 miles away.
For context, Google Maps estimates that such a walk would take a person 30 straight hours.
So the Sheriff’s deputies took it upon themselves to give Baldwin a ride, with help from several neighboring counties.
It worked like a relay race, with various county officials coordinating to hand Baldwin off and get him where he needed to go.
According to a Facebook post from the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office:
“The deputy acted quickly and escorted the Gulf War Veteran to the Cullman County line where a Cullman Sheriff Deputy picked him up. The deputy then transported him to the Morgan County Line where a Morgan County Sheriff Deputy took over and met a Madison County Sheriff Office Deputy in Huntsville who finished the trip and took the man to his appointment.”
According to the same post, the officers provided the same transportation to Baldwin the next day in order to get him home.
“After an overnight stay, we were happy to do it all again today….. in reverse to help get the man back home.”
What began as a simple, sweet story took a turn to the incredible when it received media coverage.
According to the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office after the story went viral Baldwin’s son Lance saw the post and realized it featured his father who he hasn’t spoken to in over five years. Despite years of estrangement Lance Baldwin told a local TV station that after seeing the post he planned to reach out to his father again.
Supporters of Gerald Baldwin have launched a GoFundMe to help him get the funds he needs to make ends meet and they’ve raised close to $3,000 of their $10,000 goal.