96-year-old Mildred Bradford arrived at Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall thinking she had won a contest to tour the University of Georgia’s football facility. There was no contest, but she did get a tour. It just happened to be on the arm of Aaron Murray, the Bulldogs’ senior quarterback.
The whole thing was set up by Heather Spivey, a registered nurse at Athens Regional Medical Center, and Shannon Gabbard, a nurse manager at ARMC. Bradford was one of Spivey’s patients, and she was fascinated by Mildred’s impressive memory and deep love of the Georgia Bulldogs.
“I don’t believe I’ve ever had a patient that’s been 96-years-old that is this sharp,” Spivey told April Burkhart of the Athens Banner-Herald.
Their original plan was to have Murray – who would have likely gone in the first round of April’s NFL Draft but chose to return to school – visit Bradford in the hospital, but she was discharged before the meeting could happen. Instead, Gabbard talked to Murray at her husband’s softball game and started the process of setting up the lifelong Bulldog fan’s visit to the Georgia campus.
Family members and staff of both the UGA athletic department and ARMC shared the moment. It was a good thing some medical professionals were on hand, because Bradford was a little overwhelmed by her special tour guide:
Clasping her hands to her chest, Bradford squealed and with a smile on her face said, “My heart is getting weak.”
Bradford also received an autographed football from Murray.
“I’ll treasure this as long as I live,” she said as she stared at the football in awe.
Bradford gave Murray a kiss on the cheek as family and friends took photos. After that she got her private tour, which featured Bulldogs memorabilia and the facilities used by UGA coaches and players every day.
Special thanks to April Burkhart and the Athens Banner-Herald for letting us use the amazing photos.
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