At age 94, Meals on Wheels client Fred Smith has had his fair share of health-related issues. Multiple cancers and treatments, a stroke, and a knee replacement have taken some of the spring in his step, but he’s fought hard to be alive today.
Born and raised in Oak Cliff, Fred is a retired long-haul trucker and now lives in an apartment in DeSoto. His 15-year-old dog Rosie died in 2011 and he’s lived alone ever since. Living through the pandemic was difficult for him, but spending 24 years on the road as a trucker prepared him for the loneliness. “All those years and all that time in the cab of the truck helped me from going crazy,” he said. Still, he felt isolated and looked forward to his Meals on Wheels deliveries each week.
Fred was one of the initial Meals on Wheels clients to receive his vaccine through the VNA, Texas National Guard and DeSoto Fire Department collaborative mobile vaccine clinic. When he got the call in February to inquire if he’d like a vaccine, he said yes immediately. “I was ready to have mine and I didn’t know where I was going to get it,” he said. “I know everybody has to die, but I sure would like to live past the virus.”
The vaccination process was simple for him and very easy. Fred had no side effects, other than a sore arm. He likened the second shot to a flu shot. Since receiving the vaccine, Fred is now able to receive guests safely in his home. After a year of isolation, his nieces and nephews frequently stop by to say hello and check on him. They tell stories and reminisce about the olden days. Fred likes to remind everyone that it was because of him that his nephew married as he introduced him to his wife long ago. “I take all the credit for that,” he chuckled.
Fred says, “I feel a whole lot better knowing that I’ve got something to protect me against the virus. This was my best chance. I’m glad I did it.”