This story originally appeared on the Martinsburg VA Medical Center website.

On Monday, 70-year-old U.S. Air Force Veteran Frederick Todd fulfilled his dying wish — to marry his partner of over 38 years.

The Martinsburg VA Medical Center Intensive Care Unit (ICU) employees were approached by Todd first thing Monday morning asking for assistance in making his final wish come true —  to marry his partner Gail King. Seeing how important this was him, and with time not on the couple’s side, employees rushed to assist.

“Being able to grant this Veteran’s last wish was extremely important to the nursing staff,” said Shirley Reed-Vazquez, an ICU nurse.

The ICU staff reached Chaplain Service in search of someone who could perform the ceremony. After a few phone calls, they were able to enlist the assistance of Pastor Garry Arnold with 365 Church, in Martinsburg.

During the preparations, nurse Jill Stouffer was approached by a family member asking for help locating something that could be used as a wedding ring for the couple. She handed them her ring without a second thought.

“This Veteran volunteered to serve our country and provide freedom. The opportunity to grant his wish is something the ICU staff wanted and worked hard to make sure this special day occurred for him and his significant other,” said Stouffer.

The wedding cake for the newly married couple was provided by Nutrition and Food Service, photography to capture the moment was provided by the public affairs office and music was played on a nurse’s phone.

The ceremony took place next to Todd’s bedside with a room full of family, friends and medical center staff.

Congratulations, Frederick and Gail, on your wedding!

About the author: Sarah M. Tolstyka is a public affairs specialist at the Martinsburg VAMC.


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Published on Jul. 26, 2016

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