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In the right place, at the right time

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By Cindy DiFazio

Staff writer/photographer

On Easter Sunday evening, Jon and Tracey Park of Eminence decided it was time for a late-evening snack.

Their trip to the Eminence Dairy Queen would help return 87-year old Don W. Taylor to his northern Kentucky home.

Taylor had been reported missing when he didn’t return to his Florence home after attending Easter morning church services. He evidently lost his way, and ended up at Dairy Queen in Eminence several hours later.

“We were going through the drive-through,” Jon Park said, “when an older gentleman pulled up next to us.” Park said Taylor, who was still dressed in his Sunday suit, asked the couple for directions to Florence.

“I asked him to pull up to the front parking lot,” he said. “I thought there’s just something not right.”

Park said he and Tracey, who both work in the medical field, felt uncomfortable with the situation. “He seemed to be disoriented,” he said.

They called 911.

Park said the 911 operator said Taylor was on her missing persons list in Boone County. “The operator seemed close to tears,” he said. “She was just overwhelmed.”

Eminence police officer Rodney Hawkins was on duty that evening. “I got a call from a concerned citizen,” he said, “so I went up there and observed.”

Hawkins said Taylor was disoriented and agitated, insisting he needed to get directions and drive himself home. “He thought he was still in the military, thought his daughter was still 13 year old,” Hawkins said. “It was obvious he had some dementia.”

He took Taylor inside the restaurant and waited. They sipped coffee and Hawkins kept Taylor calm until a caregiver could come for him a couple hours later. “The hardest thing was keeping him comfortable,” he said. “It was kind of a bonding thing.”

Park said he and Tracey had intended to go to the restaurant earlier in the evening, but said God had other plans for them. “It was a God thing,” he said. “He put us at the right place at the right time.”

 

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