Lufkin's Grace Care Center gives ultimate dream date to couple

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Love was in the air for Muriel and Barry Kidwell as they got ready Thursday night for their ultimate dream date.

The date was provided by Lufkin's Grace Care Center as part of its new program called Grace Filled Dreams, which will give one resident a month a chance to fulfill a dream or relive one.

"I feel real honored that they did this for us," said Muriel Kidwell.

"It was very exciting to me to know that they would do something like this for us and honored that they took the time and initiative to put this thing together," said Barry Kidwell.

The couple, who has been married for 61 years, say they haven't been on a date in over 3 years and were completely surprised by the gift given to them by Grace Care Center.

"It is very joyous. We are going to enjoy it very much," said Barry Kidwell.

Barry says they haven't been out to dinner since Father's day of 2009 when Muriel suffered a stroke.

"We were at church and we were going to leave church to go out to eat and she started having a stroke at that time," said Barry Kidwell.

It was a joyous evening for the couple who shared an intimate table at Ralph and Kacoo's. The restaurant even donated the meal to the Kidwell's for free.

"We thought it was just a fantastic idea. My parents have been married for almost 65 years, so it was her wish. So it's part of us giving back to the community," David Fairchild, the general manager of Ralph and Kacoo's, said.

Barry, who works a 40-hour work week at LabCorp, says he doesn't live with Muriel at the center, but visits her for six hours a day.

"They've been married for 61 years; you don't beat that with a stick. In this day and age, that's important. People need to realize how important it is to love somebody for that long," Ed Risinger, the activity director for Grace Care Center, said.

It's the Kidwell's love for each other that made employees like Nathan Redberg, who is the administrator for Grace Care Center, want to give them their ultimate dream date.

"Talking with Muriel, her idea was to be able to go out on the town and have a great dinner with her husband Barry," said Redberg.

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