Harvey Gafford

Walking in the Light

Harvey Gafford grew up on the receiving end of a whole lot of love. Not surprising since he was the 14th out of 13 sisters and five brothers. They grew up on a farm in Brownwall, Louisiana, not far from Shreveport. “I miss that sometimes. We have all grown up and gone our own ways, and 5 of my siblings have passed,” he mused.

Today, his mission is to minister to others both in daily life and as a Deacon in his church: “I am just trying to walk with God. If the pictures ya’ll took of me help anyone who is going through something similar, that’s what I’m all about,” he said.

It wasn’t always like that for Harvey. As he says, one mistake at age 18 “cost my family and me nearly everything.” He is referring having been shot with in the groin a 12- gauge shotgun at that age. “I still get déjà vu about that night sometimes. It was September 13, 1972,” he recounted. The gunshot initially left him with drop foot and partial paralysis in his right leg. However, in his work as a hospital janitor, over the years he had more and more issues with his leg.

“I couldn’t feel my foot very well and, of course was on my feet all the time at work. It started out with getting an infection in my toes and I lost half my foot. Then, I kept on getting infections after that, to the point that I had to have my leg amputated below the knee,” he said.

About Snell’s: “They have kept me going over the years. I was going to another clinic before Snell’s and had nothing but trouble with the legs they made me. One time I was riding the bus and the strap broke on my leg. I had to sit there on the bus and tie it back on so I could get home.

Not long after that, one afternoon I was at a gas station and saw a young man with a prosthesis. We got talking and he told me he worked for Snell’s and to come by. That’s how I got started going to Snell’s and have been happy ever since.”

Coming full circle on big families, Harvey and wife Sandra who have been together for 40 years have five adult children and 10 grandchildren!