Green Forest family takes joy ride with Walmart Heart program

Friday, May 12, 2017
Alex Carpenter of Green Forest was made a private fleet honorary driver on Monday, May 8, by the Walmart Heart program. Carpenter got to ride in the Walmart Heart truck, release balloons and receive gifts from the store as part of the celebration organized by the program.
Photo by David Bell/Carroll County News

Alex Carpenter of Green Forest and his parents, Allen and Laura, got to spend Monday, May 8, celebrating with the Walmart Heart program. Alex was made an honorary Walmart truck driver and got to ride in the Walmart Heart truck from Green Forest to the Walmart Supercenter in Berryville, escorted by local law enforcement officers.

At the store, Berryville Mayor Tim McKinney proclaimed May 8, 2017 to be “Alex Carpenter Appreciation Day” in recognition of the extraordinary courage Alex has shown to those around him when facing difficult circumstances. While at the store, Alex received gifts from Walmart, including a replica of the Walmart Heart truck.

“It’s very awesome that they could do this because he never gets to have fun,” Laura Armstrong said. “He’s always in the hospital, so this has been awesome for him to experience.”

The Walmart Heart program was started 19 years ago when a boy named Jack Scott was diagnosed with an illness and given less than three months to live. As part of one of his medical tests, he had to stay up for 24 hours, so his mother decided to take him to Walmart to keep him up. The manager was notified of what was going on, and the whole store pitched in and kept the boy entertained all night long. After seeing how excited Jack was about the trucks in the loading dock, one of the Walmart truck drivers arranged a truck ride for him. Word spread about the event, beginning the Walmart Heart program. Today, about 300 to 400 truck drivers are involved, and they have done about 3,000 events to lift the spirits of children or adults with chronic medical conditions or special needs.

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