Davey Glover loves his job.
He’s a data analyst at Shurtape Technologies in Hickory, and has worked for the company for more than 35 years.
But after being diagnosed with Lou Gherig’s Disease last year, Davey can’t talk, can barely walk, and will have to stop working Aug. 31.
Though he is weak and on a feeding tube now, friends, family and colleagues say Davey “was one of a kind,” “a marvelous man,” and a significant member of his church and community.
Last month, those same friends rallied around the disease-stricken man and turned their vocal praise into monetary support — raising $15,000 for Davey in a one-day walk-a-thon.
Abernethy Memorial United Methodist Church and Shurtape Technologies, LLC, held a walk-a-thon for Davey at Southside Park. Going into the event, Glover’s wife, Connie, didn’t think many people would show.
“We knew there would be a few people there, but the park was packed. It was something else,” she said. “It was overwhelming.”
Abernethy church members, Shurtape employees, Boy Scout Troop 360, friends and family all arrived to walk for Davey, raising more than $15,000 for he and his family in the one-day event.
Davey was diagnosed with ALS last year after he developed several symptoms that quickly became more severe.
“It started with his speech being slurred,” Connie said. “He can’t speak, and he can’t eat. He’s a tube feeder now. It’s gotten bad fairly quickly. He’s not wheelchair bound, but he will be.”
Now, after working at Shurtape for more than 35 years, Davey will quit work Aug. 31.
“He’s going to have to quit Aug. 31 and will have to go on disability,” Connie said. “This will help later on when he doesn’t have his salary coming in. ALS is expensive because there is no cure or anything.”
ALS is a disorder that affects the function of nerves and muscles. Its onset is insidious with muscle weakness or stiffness, and as it progresses, paralysis of the muscles of the limbs and trunk as well as those that control vital functions such as speech, swallowing and later breathing generally follows, according to the ALS Association.
There is no known cure for ALS, but testing is being done to determine the risk factors. It is not a common disease, as a little over 5,600 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with ALS each year. It is estimated that as many as 30,000 Americans have the disease at any given time.
Connie said Davey’s condition as well as the walk-a-thon has also shed light on the disease.
“It caused awareness. I knew about ALS and I knew about someone that passed away from it, but when it affects you, it’s been more difficult to deal with,” Connie said.
Friends and family close to Davey said the walk-a-thon was such a success because of the caring, friendly person he is.
Linda Hallman, Newton-Conover Middle School receptionist and Abernethy church member, got to know Davey and Connie when their children attended Abernethy Play School. Hallman attended the walk-a-thon and said Davey is “one of a kind.”
“He is a very friendly person and will go the extra mile to do what he can for anybody,” Hallman said. “He was very involved in the church and the community, and helped out and headed up our school supplies drive.
He’s done so much for others and for us as a church, and we wanted to help him out in his time of need.”
Davey attended the walk-a-thon, and Hallman said he listened to bands that played at the event and was very emotional. Connie said the support that the event created is highly appreciated.
It really showed how people cared for us to show up,” Connie said, “and that’s what really meant more than anything being there.”