Ash­ley’s pro­vides bed to Navy veteran

The Saline Courier - - FRONT PAGE - By Elisha Mor­ri­son el­[email protected]­ton­courier.com

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.

ELISHA MOR­RI­SON/THE Sa­line Courier

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.

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