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Injured deputy surprised to receive unbelievable gift from friends

Lexington, SC (Paul Kirby) – Deputy Roy Hall, the K-9 handler with the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department that was seriously injured in a wreck last June, was elated Saturday evening when he received a special surprise from some friends. Roy had come to an event in Lexington called a Cruise-In. It was hosted by members of the South Carolina Camaro Club as a fundraiser for his family and him.

Roy has been in and out of the hospital and rehab several times since his crash. No one knows when he will be able to go back to work. His wife had to shelve her part-time job to be home for Roy. Even with his health insurance, serious injuries like Roy’s can make the bills pile up fast. When plans for the Cruise-In were announced, Roy and his family certainly wanted to stop by and say thanks to the club and the crowd. Roy had no idea that some friends and local businesses had been working secretly to present him with a surprise. Something worth more to him than any amount of money.

Wayne Sexton, a close friend of Roy’s and shop manager at Richard Wright, Jr’s Paint & Body Shop, knew his friend had an old Ford truck. The 2000 model F-150 had 4-wheel-drive but not much else. It was bumped and bruised, a real plain Jane, but Roy sure loved it. It didn’t have any custom paint or parts; it was simply an old truck.

Wayne said Friday he’d heard Roy say hundreds of times, “One day I’m going to fix up my old truck.” Roy had even told Wayne he'd been watching shows on television to learn about painting and repairing cars. Wayne knew that his friend’s injuries might prevent that restoration from ever being done. That’s when Wayne decided he’d gather some friends, enlisted some of Roy’s family in a conspiracy to get the truck, and then redo it for Roy while he was off his feet.

Without Roy’s knowledge, the truck was taken to Wright’s shop under Wayne’s watchful eye. Wright is a custom car and bike builder who has been recognized nationally for building one of a kind custom machines. He’s also applied gorgeous paint jobs to just about anything that has wheels, and some things that don't. Wright quickly agreed his shop would donate the paint and body work that would transform Roy’s truck.

Wayne knew fresh paint would be good, but a whole refurbish would be better! He first called Paul Aragon at Wicked Stitches Upholstery. Aragon took a set of junkyard seats and redid them, giving the truck a custom upholstery job. He then called Jon Davis at Golden Motors. Jon decided he’d help too. He’d completely trick out the truck once the paint and upholstery were done.

When the men finished the truck, it was nothing like it was when they started. The full interior was redone. Aragon had taken patches from the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department’s K-9 team and sewed them onto the seats. He also took Roy’s cloth name tag and sewed it into the center console's covering. There would be no mistaking whose truck this was.

When Davis got the truck at his shop, he just kept going. He gave it a suspension lift, added oversized wheels and new tires, tinted the windows, and added a bull bar to the front. He also aligned the front end and made the truck mechanically sound.

When it was Wright’s turn, his staff completely repaired the truck’s body and gave it a custom paint job. They also airbrushed the names of all the business who contributed to the project on the truck’s tailgate.

Saturday evening, as a crowd stood around wishing Roy a speedy recovery, he sat in a wheelchair with an overwhelmed look on his face. So many people had come for him and his family. He sat at the center of attention, not a spot he looked as if he relished. Someone grabbed a mic, welcomed everyone, and reminded them why they had come. This flurry of activity right around Roy allowed a tow-truck with the pickup on its bed to slip into the area undetected. As Roy, his wife, and their children listened, the crowd parted and a very nice 4x4 pickup pulled up. At first, it didn't register to Roy as the truck stopped just short of the Halls. Then, if you were watching Roy's face, you could see his brow furrow as he suddenly realized. Could that really be? To no one in particular he quietly said, "Is that my truck?" He looked across each of his shoulders searching for anyone that could answer. When Wayne got out of the cab, it fully dawned on Roy. This was his truck!

Roy made his way to the driver's door and pulled himself upright from the wheelchair holding onto the door of his old truck, now a modern showpiece. His wife climbed inside and ran her hands over the smooth upholstery in the rear seat. Roy grinned from ear-to-ear as he leaned inside and touched everything. His smile got even broader when he saw the K-9 team patches, his name tag, and even his old CB radio mounted in the truck. His face was like a child's at Christmas. The look was priceless! Awe, surprise, amazement all registered at once. He had a little boy's grin. The smile a child would have after discovering the heated cup holders in mom's new car, amazing! Right there in that parking lot, you could see Roy Hall the man that's ready to return and run the bad guys down. A man ready to go to work, trot through the woods, hunt, and watch a dog's tail fly high as the animal searches for prey. You could also find Roy Hall the boy. His face reflected his desire to leave all the fuss behind and just go to the woods, a place he obviously feels comfortable.

Even the Hall's children had to climb in and try the "new" truck out. It was if they were all checking out the most expensive ride down at a dealership. This was definitely Roy's truck! All it needs now is Roy behind the wheel, some hunting dogs in the bed, a cool, crisp fall morning, woods, and some beast to hunt. In the case of Roy's truck, it's ready for those hunting trips, just add Roy and some gasoline! If the love shown to Hall and his family Saturday was any indication, someone is going to add Roy to the cab, the dogs to the bed, that gasoline, and Roy will be back in the hunt real soon.

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