HERMON — Thomas Follette, 100-year-old resident of Arbor Terrace in Gardiner, dreamed of going for a ride in a “big rig” and having lunch at a legendary local favorite — Dysart’s Truck Stop and Restaurant. His wish came true July 21, thanks to the generosity of Dysart’s who donated the ride, the staff at Arbor Terrace and the Maine Health Care Association’s Live Your Dreams program.
Follette, who taught himself how to drive a truck some 70 years ago, was a longtime tractor-trailer driver. In a request to the Live Your Dreams program, Follette said, “I’d love to sit in one of those trucks again. I don’t have my license anymore, so I couldn’t drive. I wouldn’t be scared either; I could get right up into it.”
Indeed, Follette had no trouble hopping up into the rig with a grin from ear to ear. Outfitted with a Dysart’s hat and flanked by news cameras, his granddaughter Debby Clark, Dysart’s employees and some curious onlookers, Follette happily took the passenger seat for a 20-minute ride. At its conclusion, he said that while much has changed inside the trucks, “It was great and the driver was very good, too!”
Follette’s wish to ride in a “big rig” again was made possible thanks to Dysart’s offer to take him for a truck ride. He enjoyed lunch with his granddaughter Debby Clark of Bangor at Dysart’s Restaurant after the dream was fulfilled. During lunch, he spoke about road trips from Pittsfield to Boston that earned him anywhere from $10-25 per week. “That was big money back then,” he noted.
Live Your Dreams is designed to encourage and help Maine’s longterm care residents realize their hopes and dreams at any age, despite health and aging challenges. MHCA member facilities submit requests to the program on behalf of their residents, but ideas and wishes must be meaningful to the resident and come specifically from them.
Examples of dreams are relationship-based wishes or lifelong aspirations such as learning to dance, riding in a race car, riding in a hot air balloon or going to a sporting event. Dream fulfillment is made possible through a combination of longterm care facility staff and volunteer support, corporate sponsorships and individual donations of time and resources. For information about the program, call MHCA at 623-1146.