Video: Texas community welcomes fire chief home after 93-day hospital stay

Rusk fire and police escorted Fire Chief Donald Lankford home after his lengthy hospitalization due to COVID-19

Michelle Dillon
Jacksonville Daily Progress, Texas

RUSK, Texas — Cherokee County first responders joined the Rusk Fire and Police Departments Nov. 5, providing an escort as a welcome home for Rusk Fire Chief Donald Lankford, after his lengthy hospital stay due to COVID-19. Lankford remained in the hospital for 93 days, according to a Facebook post by Lindsey Lankford.

Well-wishers lined the street holding signs and waving as the emergency vehicles and the car carrying Lankford passed along a block of S. Main between the downtown square and the fire station.

Austin Bank invited the public to sign a welcome home banner for the fire chief.

Comments on a social media post by the Rusk Chamber of Commerce expressed support for Lankford.

"Glad you are home! God is good," wrote one commentator.

Other comments showed gratitude for a caring community.

"Here is another reason we love living in Rusk, Texas. We all care deeply about each other," wrote another.

Most simply stated, "Welcome home."

Those who organized or took part in the event included Lindsey Lankford, wife of Donald Lankford; James Sanchez, who had organized fundraisers for the Lankfords; the city of Rusk, the Rusk Fire and Police Departments, Reklaw Fire Department, Alto Fire Department, Gallatin Fire Department, Maydelle Fire Department and the Cherokee County Sheriff's Department.

Lindsay Lankford posted her husband's reaction to the event on social media.

"Donald was completely surprised and overwhelmed with emotions seeing everyone support him," she stated. "We've gotten so many videos and pictures of the town supporting Donald. This was amazing."

On a separate post, Lankford requested continued prayers for complete healing.


(c)2021 the Jacksonville Daily Progress (Jacksonville, Texas)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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