Unsung Hero: Progress Port and Tom Harness


By Ashley Smith
By Josue

WSIL -- Amanda Lach remembers her wedding day with a smile on her face and joy in her heart. Those happy memories almost didn't happen when she found out just two days before the ceremony that her father may not make it. Amanda's dad, Donald Sims, lives at the Veteran's Home in Anna. He's confined to a wheelchair and needs special transportation.

"At the rehearsal dinner my mom sat down with Tom Harness, who is a veteran also like my father, and he wanted to hear more of the story, you know, why my dad wasn't going to be able to be there, and immediately he got onto his phone," explained Lach.

Tom posted a request on his Facebook asking for help, and with the power of social media, it only took 30 minutes for Lori Jones to respond.

My father had just had surgery the night before, so here's this daughter wanting her dad to be there, and it just so happened he was also a veteran and it's the 4th of July, so both of things together just kind of touched me," said Jones

Jones, general manager at Progress Port, offered the facility's vehicle for the special day and asked Joey Lewis to drive.

Lewis said, "It's 4th of July weekend, they served the country for a reason, we need to serve them back. It's not right for him to miss a wedding day that he should go to."

"It was something he talks about pretty much on a daily basis, about being at the wedding, and something he has looked forward to for a very long time, and it wouldn't have been complete if he wouldn't have been there," added Lach.

After the wedding and part of the reception, Joey drove back to Anna with the proud father of the bride.

"He told me three or four times when I got back to the VA, 'Thank you, I appreciate it.' And like I told him, from a father's point of view, I got kids myself, I got a little daughter, it feels good to be there for your daughter," Lewis said.

"A few pictures that I've seen of the wedding of my father and I, they're really great pictures, and I'm glad that those were able to happen."

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