West Virginia Vet’s Final Wish Granted as he Marries Lifelong Partner from Deathbed

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It took 38 years for this veteran’s dream to come true. But it happened at the right time.

Surrounded by friends, family and staff at the Martinsburg VA Medical Center, 70-year-old U.S. Air Force Veteran Frederick Todd married his long-time partner Gail King. It was Todd’s last wish, as he hadn’t long to live.

Early that morning, Todd asked the Martinsburg Intensive Care Unit (ICU) employees for help in planning the wedding. They were eager to help and knew just who to bring in for the event. The nurses found willing officiant Pastor Garry Arnold after calling several local churches through the center’s own Chaplain Service. And making sure every last item was covered, nurse Jill Stouffer offered Todd her own ring to use in the ceremony.

“This Veteran volunteered to serve our country and provide freedom. The opportunity to grant his wish is something the ICU staff wanted and worked hard to make sure this special day occurred for him and his significant other.” Stouffer said.

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According to the VA, the couple’s wedding cake came from the medical center’s Nutrition and Food Service department, and music for the ceremony was played on a nurse’s phone.

“Being able to grant this Veteran’s last wish was extremely important to the nursing staff,” said ICU nurse Shirley Reed-Vazquez.

We wish Frederick and Gail all the best with the time they have left together. Their story is one of hope and happiness, not unlike that of soldier Justin Lansford. Life wasn’t simple for Lansford, but his life has been made a lot easier with the help of Gabe, his Golden Retriever service dog. Gabe has become an important part of Lansford’s life, assisting him with everything from PTSD to providing him with physical support as he navigates through life as a wounded warrior. Gabe, however, just provided an amazing new service for Lansford… being the best man at his wedding! Follow this link to read more.

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Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and world traveler with a background in journalism, graphic design, and French pastry. He likes to learn new things whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, folk music and coffee.