December 15, 2017
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100-year-old has ‘big rig’ dream fulfilled at Dysart’s

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Thomas Follette, 100, sits in a truck at Dysart's.

HERMON, Maine — Thomas Follette, 100-year-old resident of Arbor Terrace in Gardiner, has 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 Monday, 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 the request to the Live Your Dreams program, Follette stated, “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 generous 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 specifically to encourage and help Maine’s long-term 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 like 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 long term care facility staff and volunteer support, corporate sponsorships, and individual donations of time and resources.  For more information about the program, please contact MHCA at 623-1146 or visit online at Live Your Dreams.