Most of our Wow Moments involve one person doing something really special, but the January moment featured a whole department working together to make a difference. When staff members at Memorial’s Bomar Rehab Center heard that Jeffrey Athey didn’t intend to “walk across the stage” to receive his associate’s degree at Angelina College because his mother, Cheryl Athey, couldn’t be there, they decided to intervene in a big way. Mrs. Athey was a patient at the rehab center before Christmas and though she was trying to regain some of her independent function, she was unfortunately suffering from a terminal illness. She couldn’t attend, but the Bomar team felt Jeffrey’s graduation was just what was needed to bring good cheer for the holidays and maybe return a bounce to everyone’s step.
Led by Bomar Rehab’s intern, Chasity Mooney, the rehab staff went to work to make it happen. Chasity had been in Mrs. Athey’s kindergarten class at the SFA Early Childhood Research Center almost 20 years earlier and knew the impact the teacher had had on young lives in Nacogdoches, including her own.
So someone downloaded Pomp and Circumstance - because that’s how all graduation ceremonies begin and end. Someone else arranged for a cake and other refreshments. Another found a cap and gown and a stand-in diploma. Someone agreed to be the emcee. They found decorations, volunteered to serve, and paid attention to a million little details to make the day the monumental day it should be for Jeffrey and his mother. Loved ones were invited and, with their permission, the media was asked to tell this incredibly poignant story.
Jeffrey “walked” his stage and his mother handed him his diploma in the Bomar family room. Jeffrey threw his cap in the air and his mom loved every minute of it. All were in tears by the end of the ceremony, but all were honored to be a part.
And we, at Memorial Health, are truly proud to claim the Bomar Rehab team as part of our Memorial family.