VINTON — When retired Air Force Staff Sgt. Corey Goodwin got an email earlier this month from his Wing Commander, Col. Samantha Weeks, asking that Christmas cards be sent to a sick child in Vinton, he decided he could do more.
The former Orange, Texas, resident drove to Vinton this past week with nearly 1,000 Christmas cards, many handmade by children, and a few special gifts to Drake Quibodeaux, an eight-year-old boy who was diagnosed with a brain tumor referred to as Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), earlier this year.
Drake’s simple request for Christmas cards earlier this month spread rapidly on local and social media. He has since been the recipient of a massive outpouring of love from around the country, and will be attending the Fiesta Bowl in Arizona pitting his LSU Tigers against Central Florida, on New Year’s Day.
Goodwin, who had already planned to spend Christmas with his sister in Texas, told Col. Weeks he would personally deliver anything the base collected for Drake.
Last Friday, Goodwin met with Drake and his mom Danielle at Vinton City Hall to present him with his cargo.
Besides the multitude of Christmas cards, Goodwin presented Drake with a Challenge Coin from the Command Chief Master Sgt. of the Columbus Air Force Base, in Mississippi, as well as a Squadron Coin from Maj. Dennis Widner with the 14th Logistics Readiness Squadron.
Goodwin then unveiled a gift from Col. Weeks, a former demonstration pilot with the USAF Thunderbirds. It was a framed photograph of an aircraft, squadron patches, and a Wing Coin. Col. Weeks inscribed a personal message on the back wishing Drake well and inviting him to visit the base as a Pilot for a Day.
Goodwin, a former Shriner and a Mason, said he has spent much of life working with organizations that help children. So this mission was a natural fit for him.