HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - When bad things happen, most of us look for something good. That's true for a father and son who took action to make things safer for kids.
David Ledford and Roger Leggett have been friends for a long time. They were volunteer firefighters in Georgia. David and his wife moved to the Tennessee Valley and Roger still lives near Atlanta. They got together last week to put together a little red wagon.
But this isn’t the first one they’ve assembled. They have done it before. “Just a few,” Roger said with a smile. “Just a few.” They don’t even need instructions. But these Radio Flyers are more than just a wagon. “A child can stand in them and they’re still stable,” Roger said. “And these come all ready which was requested by hospitals to make sure they had seat belts for the kids so they couldn't raise up while they were in there,” David added.
The wagons are rides for kids. “I've got over 200 wagons in the garage, but number 802 is there to be assembled,” Roger said. And they’re all spoken for. Each is equipped with an IV pole. Roger and his son Chad came up with the idea while they were at a hospital.
“My granddaughter in 2011 was diagnosed with a brain tumor,” Roger told me. While visiting her, they saw a mother pulling her child in a wagon and an IV pole. They were trying to get into an elevator. Roger and his son rushed to help her when the pole almost toppled over on top of her child
“As she went in, the doors closed, Chad looked at me and said there's got to be a better way to do this,” Roger said. And there was. “This is the better way,” he said while attaching the stainless steel IV pole to the wagon. But six weeks after coming up with the idea, Chad died unexpectedly. The 24-year Emergency Medical Technician was at some land the family owned.
“He had a heat stroke and passed away at our deer camp, out working on a 100-degree day and it got him,” Roger said. But he wouldn’t let the dream die. He set up a non-profit called Chad’s Bracket. It was a fitting tribute to honor his son’s memory. “Well, thank you. Thank you very much,” Roger said glancing skyward. “He would have loved it cause he was all into helping people.”
Chad’s Bracket IV wagons are making their way around the world. “I've got them in 34 states and six foreign countries,” Roger said. Several north Alabama hospitals have them. Huntsville Hospital got one several years ago. David’s daughter is a nurse there.
Since then, several others have been donated to the hospital. “And then we've got a couple at Madison and now Athens has one,” David said. He and his wife recently delivered that one. “And I've already got a request for a hospital over in the Shoals,” he added.
Back to Roger’s granddaughter Felicity, “She went through three surgeries, three rounds of chemo,” Roger told me. “And she's doing wonderful now.” She’s in remission and will celebrate her 11th birthday in April.
If you or a group would like more information or learn how to donate a wagon, click here for more information.