It was just after 10 p.m. Tuesday when Harold Morgan came home for the final time.
The skies were pulsating with lightning. Raindrops fell without pausing.
A First Care ambulance backed slowly toward an open garage door at the Radel Funeral Home on Neeb Road in Delhi Township. The crew had been on the road since 8 a.m., leaving Mobile, Alabama for Cincinnati on their mission of mercy for the Morgan family.
They'd hoped to bring the seriously ill Navy veteran home in time to be with his three daughters before he left this earth.
But fate intervened, and Morgan passed away Monday.
Morgan's three daughters -- Casey, Tracy and Jamie -- waited inside, out of the rain. There were tears and hugs as the gurney, draped in an American flag, was slowly unloaded from the ambulance and taken into the funeral home.
Within a few minutes, First Care's Jeff Goble emerged and was immediately hugged by Tracy Hughes, one of the daughters.
"You were the only people that told us 'Yes,'" she said.
"We'd do it a thousand times over," Goble replied. "That's what we do."
Goble then presented Hughes with the flag that honored her father's time in the Navy.
"We appreciate his service," he said. "We love our veterans, and we're just glad that everything has come together for you."
"Thank you," were the words Hughes forced softly through her tears.
Morgan served in the Navy aboard the USS Forrestal aircraft carrier in the first Gulf War and worked for a shipbuilder in Mobile after retiring from the service.
Last fall, he fell, and while being examined for that injury, medical staff discovered that he had cancer. His daughters contacted 9 On Your Side last week to see if there was any way to get their father home and into a waiting hospice bed at the VA Hospital.
One possible transportation source didn't work out, and hope was in abeyance until First Care officials heard about the situation and offered to help. The ambulance left Sunday with one mission and wound up returning to fulfill another.
"We couldn't get here fast enough to get him home to his family," Goble said. "It was quiet ... it was quiet the first half of our trip. It was quiet just reflecting on ... the service of not only him, but many veterans that we serve, and we just couldn't get here fast enough."
Morgan's daughters didn't have enough money to bring their father home when he fell ill; his veterans insurance wouldn't cover the expense because he was hurt on a shipbuilding job, they said, so they set up a GoFundMe account.
That money will now be used for funeral expenses, they said. - WCPO
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