Hugh Cahill served as commander of Colonial Heights Post 284 in the 1980s and passed away in February. But thanks to the efforts of Post 284’s American Legion Family members, Cahill was able to make a difference in another veteran’s one final time after he passed.
In late February, Legion Family members got together to disassemble the wheelchair ramp into Cahill’s house, and transport it to and reassemble it at the home of fellow post member Steve Garcia, who suffered a stroke months ago and could not yet walk.
“This was part of Mr. Cahill’s Legacy,” said Bill Feasenmyer, a past Post 284 commander and past Department of Virginia commander. “While he was gone, he would have wanted that to happen, to pass it on. That’s what he always did. He was a faithful volunteer for years and years. It was his final contribution to helping veterans, which he always wanted to do.”
Feasenmyer said he learned via being friends on Facebook with Garcia’s wife, Dee – whom Feasenmyer went to high school with – that Steve had been hospitalized. “But I didn’t know it was serious,” he said. “He was actually on our delinquent list, so I sent him an email … to check on him. I get an email from Dee, and she said, ‘Bill, he’s actually not doing well. He’s had a stroke, and he’s in rehab, and we might be needing some equipment like a wheelchair, shower chair, something like that. When the time comes, does the post have anything like that?’
“I said, ‘Yeah, we have that. Just let me know when the time comes and we can probably help you with that.’”
In the meantime, Cahill’s health was deteriorating. Feasenmyer frequently assisted the aging veteran with medical appointments and other errands, and had noticed that Cahill had a ramp that had been installed at his home recently.
Within a day or so before Cahill passed, Feasenmyer was contacted by Dee and said Steve was scheduled to come home Feb. 23, and asked if he knew of anywhere they could get a ramp.
At Cahill’s funeral, Feasenmyer delivered the eulogy, and afterward he asked the family if they would mind if the new ramp at Cahill’s home would go to the Garcias.
“They said, ‘Yes, that is absolutely what he would want – for that ramp to be put to use for another veteran,’” Feasenmyer said. “That’s how that worked. I talked about it at a (post) meeting, and I said that I didn’t know when it would happen, but when it did, I was going to be looking for volunteers.
“When it came to that date, I asked for some volunteers. We had (Sons of The American Legion). We had (Legion) Riders. Everybody came, and we moved the ramp from Mr. Cahill’s to Steve’s house. It all just kind of fell into place so (Steve) could come home on time.”