At one point in time, Edward Reis had his dream job. As a lover of the outdoors, Reis built a successful career as a forest ranger and surveyor. Sadly, he was going to live the rest of his life trapped inside.
Edward Reis lived for nature. It was his passion and ultimate hobby. The diagnosis of multiple sclerosis was devastating to him. He would be have to be bedridden for the rest of his days.
No longer able to care for himself, Reis was forced to check in to a hospice center, with round the clock care. It was here that one of the nurses gave Reis the chance to experience his passion one last time.
Leigh Gardner and Reis developed more than a patient-caregiver relationship. They became friends. After hearing about his many adventures as a forest ranger, Gardner truly understood how passionate her patient was. She always described him as a ‘gentle soul.’
Reis eventually shared his last wish with the hospice chaplain, before leaving this earth. It was a simple request, to go outside. He wanted to experience nature’s presence once more. Knowing the joy it would give him, Gardner was determined to make this dream come true.
Enlisting the help of the local firemen, Gardner surprised Reis with a trip to Meadowdale Beach Park Forest in Washington, Reis’ old stomping grounds. Arriving in the big red truck, the firefighters strapped Reis into his seat and started on their journey.
Once Reis was outside, his expression immediately switched.
“He was just smiling the whole time. He was saying he was so happy,” Leigh said.
The dying man was finally able to smell the crisp air, hear the birds sing, and experience one last magical moment. After three hours of walking through the lush forest, the former ranger was taken back down the mountain. Sadly, Reis passed away only two short weeks after.
Today Reis’ story lives on in the lives of the people he touched.
“That made it all worthwhile. It was a good trek,” firefighter Shane Cooper says, “I’ve been here for 25 years and that’ll stay one of the highlights.”
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Courtesy: Tell Me Now