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Random Acquaintance of Ruthie and Caitlyn of Exxon

William Paine/SWT
Steven Bogert met these two young ladies at the RKC Exxon on Route 99 next to the interstate. He would regularly stop by for coffee and a cigarette on his way to town. They would often get into “deep conversations.”
From left: Steven Bogert, Ruthie Peoples and Katelyn Davis

By WILLIAM PAINE

william.paine@southwesttimes.com

While many if not most of our readers spent Valentine’s Day in the arms of loved ones, I made a date with one Steven Bogert, a Navy Veteran who until very recently lived in a tent in the woods outside of town.

No, the purpose of our meeting was not to enjoy a sumptuous dinner by candlelight.

I was meeting Steven to take him back to his campsite to gather some of his possessions.

A little more than a month ago, on Monday, Jan. 11, Steven was evacuated from his tent by members of the Pulaski County Rescue Squad, as he was unable to move on his own. They took Steven Bogert to LewisGales Hospital Pulaski, where he stayed for several days suffering from a variety of maladies including pneumonia, an intestinal infection, a blood clot and the heart attack that prompted him to call his neighbors Lloyd and Jennifer Akers in the wee hours of the morning. The Akers immediately called for an ambulance.

“Everything happened all at once but I’m like a tank, dammit!” Steven proclaimed, as we drove to the campsite in the woods where he made his home for several months.

Bogert was staying in the Budget Inn in downtown Pulaski, where the Veterans Administration was paying his bill until they could find him a more permanent place to stay. He used to walk the three miles from his campsite to town on a daily basis, but that was before he was hospitalized. These days Steven gets easily winded just walking to the convenience store across the street.

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