MCKINNEY, Texas - The family of an 84-year-old man is grateful for a Collin County deputy that guided the elderly man home after he went missing for hours.
The deputy said he had to make sure a fellow Marine was taken care of properly.
Lyle Wise is 84. He remembers enlisting in the Marines and serving in the Korean War. But there's a lot that's just out of focus, like one night three weeks before Christmas.
"He decided he wanted to go Christmas shopping,” recalled his wife, Beverly. “And I said, ‘At this hour?’ And that was at 4:30. Going to be dark, but he loves to do that."
Beverly waited for his return that evening. Then it was midnight and then 2 a.m. and then 4 a.m.
Twenty miles north of their Dallas home, Collin County Sheriff's Deputy Mark Watson got a call about a possible drunk driver in McKinney. He found Lyle in his car at the courthouse.
"To me, it seemed like he maybe had early signs of dementia and was lost,” Watson said.
Watson searched Lyle’s car but could not find a phone or any contact information. He was only able to find his home address and a stack of business cards.
"I ran across this card that looked a lot like discharge paperwork and it said United States Marine Corps from the 40s or 50s,” Watson said. “And I knew no doubt in my mind that I had to get this guy home."
Watson got out of the Marine Corps ten years ago.
"They say once a Marine, always a Marine,” Watson said. “And that holds true. We are a band of brothers."
That detail is one of the few things Lyle remembers from that night.
"We did bond. It was unbelievable,” he said. “He's a great guy."
Watson turned on his red and blue lights, told Lyle to get in his car and had the elder Marine follow him through rush hour traffic.
"And we drove 20 miles an hour all the way down 75 to his house,” the deputy explained.
“I opened the door and there was that tall, handsome, sweet, smiling deputy, and there was my husband,” Beverly said. “He too was a Marine. He said there was no way he was not going to bring him home. Kind of makes you cry.”
Watson just received training on organizations in Collin County that can help people with dementia. He's offered to remain in Lyle's life.
“I thought perhaps this could lead to help, getting help,” Beverly said.
"That's what we're here for as public servants and especially from one Marine to another,” Watson said. “I had to take care of my own."
Watson is helping connect the couple to the local VA hospital. He says the three have dinner plans in the near future.
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