Ashley’s provides bed to Navy veteran
After years of sleeping on a thin mattress in a small bed, one Korean War veteran is now sleeping easier, thanks to Ashley Furniture in Bryant.
John Gulley, 85, served in the U.S. Navy from 1952 to 1956 in Korea, starting when he was 17 years old.
Because he was drafted, he was unable to attend college on his football scholarship.
He grew up in Camden and now lives in Bryant. He was awarded disability in 2017.
For years, he has been sleeping on a twin-sized bed with a 6-inch mattress. Recently, when he was in the hospital, he had a bigger bed and slept better.
He has been trying for several months to get someone to help him get a bigger bed. Veterans Affairs told him the only way they could get him a bigger bed was if he weighed 400 pounds or more.
The bed was causing him not to sleep well.
Gulley felt he could feel the frame. Many nights he would not sleep and struggled through the next day, often having to take naps throughout the day.
He said the bed he was so
small a person could not turn over without falling out.
His doctor even wrote a prescription saying he needed a better bed but it did not help.
On his disability check, Gulley could not afford the bed on his own.
He worked with Veterans Services, which has an office in Benton, to try to purchase a new bed.
He worked with Veterans Services Administrator Teresa Mcallister. When trying to get one from the VA failed, she began calling local furniture stores asking for help.
When she visited Ashley Furniture she met Sales Manager Cissy Price and told her about Gulley’s situation. Price met Gully and listened to his story. Mcallister described Price as “very gracious.”
Her answer was that she would see what she could do.
That afternoon, Price called Mcallister to bring Gulley in.
“I said (to Gulley) it was going to be the last night he would sleep on that miserable mattress,” Mcallister said, adding so many things fell together smoothly for this to happen.
Gulley worked with Sleepologist Tim Hammonds to find the perfect bed. It is a queensized Ashley Sleep bed with and adjustable head and a 12-inch mattress. The bed even has a charging port on the remote control so he can charge his phone.
“Getting out of bed is going to be a lot easier on him,” Hammonds said.
Because of Gulley’s Parkinson’s disease, it was important that the bed not restrict his motion.
Ashley also had Gulley pick out new sheets and pillows.
Hammonds said when Ashley’s Owner Wyatt Ferguson learned about Gulley it was a no-brainer that they would help him. It goes along with a program Ashley already participates in — Operation Shut Eye.
Operation Shut Eye is a program from Tempur-Sealy that donates mattresses with Darkhorse Benefits, a nonprofit organization that benefits the U.S. Special Forces community.
Ashley joined Operation Shut Eye in 2017.
“The mission of Operation Shut Eye is to give back to those who have given so much to preserve our freedom, by giving each member of the U.S. Special Operations Forces the gift of a restful night’s sleep,” according to a brochure about the program.
Hammonds said helping people is part of the culture at Ashley Furniture.
Gulley said he had given up on getting a better place to sleep until he met Mcallister.
“I want to thank God, Mr. Ferguson and Miss Teresa from Veterans Services for blessing me with this amazing bed,” Gulley wrote in a thank you letter. “I may finally get a decent night’s sleep.”
He added he feels honored and blessed by Ferguson’s giving nature.
Veterans Services is located at 209 N. Main St. in Benton, across from the Saline County Courthouse. Any veteran who needs help or is interested in the variety of services offered — from mental health to an honor rewards program to education — can call 501-303-5646.
“We try to be full service to our veterans,” Mcallister said.
U.S. Navy veteran John Gulley sits on the floor model version of the new bed he was given by Ashley Furniture, along with the sheets and pillows the store provided. Veterans Services Administrator Teresa Mcallister, right, worked with Gulley to find someone to help him get a new bed. He picked it out with the help of Sleepologist Tim Hammonds, left.