Marine veteran Emmett Walker always looks forward to receiving packages, many which carry the medications he needs each week. Now living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and emphysema, the Hospice Savannah resident relies almost exclusively on FedEx for his deliveries.
They’re the only ones who get it right.
“They deliver in my hand, they don’t just leave it on the porch and run,” Walker told WSAV.com. “They make sure that I get it. That’s one thing that I’ve loved about FedEx.”
Along with mounting physical ailments, Walker suffered the loss of his wife, Ellen, in the last year. After her passing and facing a bout of pneumonia, the veteran was urged to enter hospice care.
“This is a dignity in dying, you know, you don’t want to think about dying, but COPD emphysema is a non-curable disease, and it’s been a pretty rough experience,” he said.
Regular visits from FedEx employee Greg Youngner have made the experience a little easier to handle. Youngner has been making deliveries to Walker over the last year, even developing a friendship with the venerated Marine.
“I like to stick my head in and check in on him, see how he’s doing,” Youngner said.
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Their connection has grown deeper than just a friendly hello and the occasional conversation. One day, when Youngner found Walker sitting across from a blank TV, he offered to hook up a digital antenna so the veteran could enjoy his favorite shows. Youngner’s wife has even made a few home-cooked meals to accompany Walker’s deliveries.
“Angela always makes lasagna and it’s her specialty,” Youngner said. “She always makes too much, so I brought Mr. Emmett some, and that kind of started the ball rolling.”
The veteran is grateful for Angela’s cooking, too. It’s delicious and sustaining in more ways than one.
“With COPD and emphysema, it’s hard to cook,” Walker said. “It takes two or three trips to the kitchen for me to even cook or warm-up anything. But now that Greg and his wife have filled in on the grocery part, I now get lasagne, chicken parmesan and things I can’t pronounce or see!
“I couldn’t thank them enough for it,” he continued.
FedEx recognized Youngner’s kindness, too.
“FedEx Express is proud of the positive impact our team members make in our communities across the world every day,” spokesperson Sederia Gray told Fox 5 San Diego. We commend the actions of our courier Greg Youngner, who went above and beyond by showing kindness to our valued customers.”
It may be above and beyond for a delivery driver, but it’s just part of life for the Youngners.
“I saw a need and thought it would be good to help out if I could, and I can, so I thought I’d do a little bit just to help,” he said.
“And I do, I do appreciate it,” Walker said.
Walker isn’t the first FedEx driver to go out of his way to help veterans. Another in Maryland, who is also a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, righted flagpole blown over by the wind in a resident’s front yard, folded the flag according to code, and placed it on a chair. The incident was caught on video by a security camera on the front of the house.
Watch in the video below.
Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.