94-year-old Howard Benson, a World War II veteran who lives in Glendale, Arizona, spent many years of his life serving his country abroad. Now that he grew old, Howard decided to move from Glendale to an assisted living facility in Florida. Not minding driving all the way by himself, Howard loaded up a tractor-trailer with all his stuff and got ready for the open road.
While Howard might have been determined, his son was greatly concerned about the safety of a nonagenarian traveling cross-country by himself. Howard’s son contacted the Glendale Police Department about his concerns, asking if the department could send someone to do a wellness check on his father. Glendale Police knew immediately that Sergeant Jeff Turney was the best man for the job. Sergeant Turney is himself a retired military man, having served in the Air Force. Because of his previous service to his country, the Glendale Police Department frequently has Sergeant Turney deal with situations involving veterans and former members of the military.
Speaking with reporters from KTAR-FM, Sergeant Turney knew that Howard would be a complex case the moment he met him. After speaking with the World War II veteran, Sergeant Turney was of the opinion that no haggling or arguments would convince Howard to cancel or delay his 2,200-mile trip, which was scheduled to begin the following day. To make sure that Howard got to Florida safely, Sergeant Turney decided to drive with him on the 30-hour trek.
Despite barely knowing each other at the outset of the trip, through their journey, Howard and Sergeant Turney became best friends. The police sergeant recalled how Howard regaled him with stories from throughout his long life and his determination to see the country he loves so much a final time. Jeff, in turn, posted updates on their adventures to Facebook Live, saying that it was an honor to be helping a man of Howard’s stature. As the two grew to know each other, the elderly vet got a new nickname from Turney: Hurricane Howard, which was bestowed on him after they faced Hurricane Dorian.
When the duo arrived at the assisted living center in the Sunshine State, they were greeted by a beautiful sight: people waving American flags and singing patriotic songs. As Sergeant Turney returned home to Arizona, he felt it was his incredible honor to have met a man who had led such an interesting and full life. In the end, Sergeant Turney hopes that his story inspires others to help those in their community and do the right thing.
What do you think of Howard and Sergeant Turney’s story? How would you have responded if you were in Sergeant Turney’s position? Let us know in the comments and be sure to pass this article along to others.