LOCKHART — A very special man who made a very special Christmas wish saw that wish come true earlier this month when students in all four grades at Lockhart Elementary School made him Christmas cards.
Patti Lindsey said Tuesday that her son, Dusty Hardee, suffered a stroke at birth that left him with PMI, a traumatic brain injury. Lindsey said that even though he is 21, her son has the mental ability of a child ages 10-12 years old. In addition, she said he also suffers from epilepsy which causes him to have seizures almost every day.
Lindsey said that her son is a patient at the Charles Lee Center where he also works in a training program. She said that a couple of years ago at Christmas, Dusty noticed a Christmas tree at the center decorated with angels. Dusty asked her about this and she explained that people had bought the angels placed on the tree and that the money they used to buy the angels would be sent to Santa Claus to pay the elves who make the toys he delivers to children. She said she told him that some mothers and fathers can’t afford to pay for toys for their children and so other people buy the angels to help Santa pay the elves to make toys for those children.
After she told him that, Lindsey said Dusty told her he didn’t want her to buy him any Christmas presents. Instead, he wanted her to use the money she would have spent on presents for him to buy angels so Santa could pay his elves to make toys for children whose parents couldn’t afford them. She said he then told her than all he wanted for Christmas was mail — letters and/or cards — which he’d never gotten before.
Lindsey then set up a Facebook page called “Cards for Dusty” to get people to send him Christmas cards. She said that last year he received 12,000 cards.
This year, so far, Lindsey said Dusty has received 660 cards, among them cards from the students at Lockhart Elementary School. Those cards did not, however, come through the Facebook page Lindsey set up for her son, but as a result of a new friend he made recently.
Karlee Greene, 10, is a student at Lockhart Elementary School where her mother, Tammy, works as a custodian. It was through a friend of her mother’s that Karlee first met Dusty, a meeting that developed into a friendship which came to involve the entire Lockhart Elementary School student body in helping make Dusty’s Christmas wish come true.
“Karlee met Dusty at a friend of mine’s house where he stays a lot,” Molett said. “She was amazed at how an adult at 21 years old could be on the same mental level as a 10-year-old.”
Karlee is a fourth grade student at Lockhart Elementary and Molett said after learning about the Facebook page and Dusty’s wish for Christmas cards, Karlee got the idea of having her class make cards for him.
It also gave Molett an idea which she said she ran past some teachers in other classes and other grades. She said they all liked the idea and soon all four grades — 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th — at Lockhart were making Christmas cards for Dusty.
Molett said Dusty was then invited to the school this past Friday where much to his surprise he was presented with the Christmas cards the students made him. She and Lindsey said Dusty was overjoyed to receive the cards and wanted to thank all the students, get his picture taken with them, and even offer them some very sage advice.
“He was so excited and so happy,” Molette said. “He told each class to be good because Santa Claus is watching.”
Lindsey said her son was so happy and “he wanted to have his picture made with all of them so we took pictures of him with all of the classes and posted them on Facebook.”
Lindsey also thanked the students for giving her son a very special gift.
“Thank you so much for making him smile,” she said.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090 or email@example.com.