Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

November 25, 2011

Princeton man gets second chance at dream

Princeton Times

PRINCETON — As part of the “Second Wind Dreams” program at the Princeton Health Care Center, Calvin Dingus, formerly of McDowell County, spent an afternoon riding all-terrain vehicles in Big Creek Hollow one more time.

Many members of Dingus’ family accompanied him on the journey including his wife, Delores, one of his three daughters and her husband, their son, and one of his nephews.

Big Creek Hollow is so noteworthy to Dingus that he wrote a song about it.  The first verse of that song goes, “Goin’ up Big Creek Holler. Goin’ in a run. Goin’ to have a lot of fun. Goin’ to stay all night.”

Several members of the community and Princeton Health Care Center assisted Dingus in fulfilling his wish. Among them were Mercer Mall General Manager Dennis McAllister, Workingman’s Store owner/operator Jim Casey, and PHCC’s secretary to the director of nursing Vanessa Davis.

McAllister and Casey worked together to provide clothing for the journey. Davis and her husband, Bradley, provided the use of their ATV to transport Dingus.

“He said that our ATV was one that he always wanted,” Davis said. “It was a Kizashi Tyrx side-by-side.”

Also assisting on the journey were PHCC’s Director of Activities Deborah Burnette and Assistant Director of Activities Katrina Tickle.

Burnette said, “He said, ‘You’re going to make me cry.’”

Burnette provided an overview of the itinerary.

“We left the center at 12 p.m., and we got back around 8 p.m. We traveled for about 30 miles,” Burnette said.

The staff of PHCC was even so thorough as to provide the same lunch that Dingus took with him and his daughter on previous journeys — root beer, raisin cakes and shaved turkey sandwiches.

“His wife never really liked riding four-wheelers, but she made the sacrifice to come and be with her husband that day,” Burnette said.

In a video recorded by Tickle, Dingus said, “The only thing missing is the campfire.”

“Our thing here is that we are trying to change the perception of aging,” Burnett said. “Our administrator, Roger Topping, is excellent as far as allowing us to do stuff at the facility and even off the facility. We want to be thought of as a place to go where you can live a happy and fulfilling life.”

— Contact Matt Christian at