MINNEAPOLIS - It was a night out on the town Diane Hallock will always treasure. She and her mother, Anita Hallock, in the back of a limousine, ooing and ahhing at block after block of Christmas lights.
"We had such a nice time," Diane recalled. "My mother enjoyed it so much. It's one of my last best memories of my mom."
Anita passed away after a long illness a few weeks after Christmas 2007. But months later Diane couldn't get the limo light tour out of her mind. "I wanted to make that available to other people in a similar situation." A year later she has.
On Monday evening William Sprouse and Dorothy Joiner became the first hospice care patients in the Twin Cities to take a Christmas light limousine tour with their families as part of a program established by Diane and the non-profit Hospice of the Twin Cities.
"I love Christmas lights," said William, snuggled between his mother and sister as their 36-foot-long Ford Excursion limo rolled slowly past festively lit Rice Park in St. Paul. At 32 years of age, William was getting his first limo ride. "It's a wonderful Christmas gift," said his mother, Mary Sprouse.
"He seems to be really relaxed," said Heidi Calton about William, her brother. "That's good because he wasn't feeling hot before he came on the ride."
During the next two weeks, 20 hospice patients are scheduled for similar rides, joined by more than 100 family members. Glidden Limousine Service donated the first limo and driver, but other limousine services will be helping out too.
"We just jumped at the opportunity," said Glidden manager Scott Klinepier who volunteered to drive the first tour himself. "We're not a Target Corporation to be able to just write a check to help, but what we do have is time."
Farther back in the limo, Dorothy Joiner and two of her grandchildren took in the lights together. "Oh, it's beautiful, it is really beautiful." She said she planned to go home later and "dream about it."
That's exactly what Diane Hallock had in mind. "It's a very special lasting gift for their families to have."
Source: KARE 11 News