The ALS Association

You Never Know What Tomorrow Brings

Cato P. Charlotte, North Carolina

Sometime in September of 2005 is when I first met Carl Femster in Columbus, Ohio. We were being shuttled to the hotel after traveling from Charlotte, NC. We were line haul drivers for USF Holland. As he told stories about his Army days, everyone in the van tuned in. Once he was finished, everyone was smiling and laughing. At that point, I knew Carl was special. Within a two year period, we both had transferred to the city which allowed us to be home daily and off on the weekends. While on break one night, I heard Carl telling stories to other employees about his life journeys causing coworkers to snicker. When I approached him, he mentioned in conversation that he crossed over from line haul to the city because he wanted to decrease his time on the road so he can extend his time with his family. However, Carl realized that his pay would decrease, but it didn’t seem to matter because he knew the importance of having quality time with family. No matter what the problem was, Carl used inspirational words of wisdom to inform people that their current situation wasn’t as bad as it may seem and reminded people that for every negative situation, there’s positive in it. I’ve heard him say with his Southern accent from time to time, "you never know what tomorrow brings. You are better off being thankful for this very moment because the next day isn’t promised to you." Another thing I recall him saying in so many words, “I have no control over the Lord’s work. What God has planned for me, I will accept it.” Often times he will mention what his pastor has spoken. If Carl felt he did something wrong, he was’t going to allow it to rest on his conscience. He would come to you, admit his wrong and apologize. In the latter part of 2008, USF Holland laid off about 25% of the city worker, which Carl was included. Although the economy was at a crawl, whenever work was available, our company would call us to work for as many days that they can use us. By working three days, insurance benefits were available. Carl would work as long as work was provided because he wanted to receive benefits to aid in taking care of his ailing wife. In 2012 Carl’s wife health took a turn for the better when she discovered that her assistants will be needed to care for her husband. Carl was diagnosed with ALS and now he is confined to a wheelchair and unable to talk. With his wife and children by his side, he is receiving the care that help retain his enthusiasm and his teamster brothers stops by to hangout with him having cookouts and gathering. As Carl continues to fight ALS, he shows us that he is in good spirits and allows his smile to tell his stories.

 
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