WOW Story: The Gift of Time

Terry Luckett, Assistant Maintenance Manager, Experience Maker
Villas at Newnan Crossing, Atlanta, GA
Employee since 2015

This past year has reminded us all that nothing in life is certain or guaranteed. Fortunately, the silver lining of this lesson is to make the most of the time we are all given! That also includes never losing our sense of gratitude. When a beloved resident’s health took a turn for the worse, Terry Luckett stepped up for a WOW moment and gave the gift of his personal time, and ended up learning a valuable life lesson in the process.

The Opportunity

Morris Tolbert, age 56, was a retired military veteran from California who chose the Villas at Newnan Crossing three years ago to be his forever home. He lived alone and his family lived out of state. This past summer, Morris was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. He expressed to the Villas staff that his condition was worsening and that he was beginning to get a bit scared. Everyday activities that we take for granted like breathing, walking, doing errands became more and more difficult. This was the moment Terry knew he had to do something for Mr.Tolbert to bring a smile to his face and decided to WOW him!

The Epiphany

In his final days, the Villas staff had asked Morris if he wanted them to contact any friends or family for him. He stipulated that under no uncertain terms that he wanted anyone to know he was dying. It was disheartening to the Venterra team that he was alone. He gave Terry permission to visit him at the hospital multiple times. During Terry’s last visit to the VA Hospital, Morris, hooked up to heart monitors and multiple tubes, managed to express how truly grateful he was to Terry and our staff at Venterra. He was so appreciative that he requested that Terry make a video of him with his cell phone so that others could see how he really felt about our staff and how wonderful the Villas had been to him. At first, Terry felt uneasy recording his testament, but he insisted. During his final days, Morris was persistent in showing his gratitude. After filming the video, Terry could barely contain himself with my emotions, he held Morris’ hand and played his favorite music. It was at this moment that Morris found peace. He was no longer scared.

The Wow Moment

As Morris’s health quickly deteriorated, he was in and out of hospitals until he finally was under hospice care. In the waning days of his life and one of his many hospitalizations, Terry delivered flowers, a card and a balloon for his WOW gift, a token to express his Venterra family’s care and concern. Terry wanted to let him know that the Villas staff and himself were here for him and would assist him with any needs that he may have. The true gift though, was the “Gift of Time”. Knowing the physical hardship that Morris was enduring, Terry was trying to help him out any way he could. There were days  Terry would take Morris’ trash out, help him with his groceries, push him in his wheelchair so that he could enjoy the great outdoors and pick up his packages. In Terry’s services to help Morris, he truly began to form a deep friendship with him. In a way, Terry views this friendship as a WOW to himself! Morris thanked the Villas team for the flowers, balloon and card, but was even more appreciative of the time and fellowship that was given. In the end, it was Morris that WOWed us! This dying man gave Terry and the Villas his parting gift: the “Gift of Gratitude.” Terry paid my final respects by attending his funeral and visiting his gravesite. Morris will forever be in Terry’s memories not only as being a resident from our property, but as an endearing friend who taught him that in the end gratitude is one of our greatest gifts!

Have you experienced a WOWMatters experience at your property or did we WOW you in some way? Let us know by sharing a Google Review here! Who knows, you just may be featured on our blog one day!

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