When Escambia County Road Prison Sgt. Delton Boswell’s colon cancer came back in June 2016, his team of officers knew they wanted to do something big to show their boss just how much he means to them.
Boswell, who has been working for the county for nearly 32 years, was diagnosed with cancer in March 2015. When it returned last June and put him back in the hospital for another surgery, his crew of road prison officers quickly put their heads together and came up with the perfect surprise for Boswell, who has a longtime love of fixing up cars.
Boswell had been working on his 1956 Ford Crown Victoria for years, but between cancer treatment and work, he hadn’t been able to finish the repairs the car needed to run. While he was in the hospital, Boswell’s crew decided to finish the job for him.
They pooled together their money, assigned each other tasks and completed the work in a day, which included a new exhaust, gas tank, carburetor, seats and engine installation.
Road Prison Officer Patrick McGlothren kept the car in his garage, letting Boswell’s wife in on the surprise so she could keep him away until the big reveal. When the car was ready, she took him to McGlothren’s house under the guise of a trip to the movies – but Boswell was instead presented with his fully-functional Crown Victoria.
“The shop door came open and they come driving my car out,” Boswell said. “It was very, very emotional. Very emotional. I don’t think there was a dry eye around the car at all, with these big ol’ grown men who tote guns for a living – I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house.”
Boswell said he was overwhelmed by the gesture.
“I was extremely touched by it,” he said. “I’ve done a lot of stuff like that for other people – never in my life did I think anything like that would ever happen to me.”
Officer McGlothren has known Boswell for years, initially working for his dad in the Escambia County Fleet Maintenance Division before moving to the Road Prison. McGlothren said he and the other officers feel lucky to have Boswell as their supervisor, and they were happy to be able to finish his car as a token of their appreciation.
“He treats us like we’re family,” McGlothren said. “And that’s the way our whole team is.”
Presenting Boswell with his ready-to-drive antique car was worth every bit of hard work it took the crew to finish it, McGlothren said.
“After it was done and he got there, it was awesome,” McGlothren said. “I would have never dreamed it would have been such a touching moment. It was special. When we got done there picture taking and hugging and all that, we had a word of prayer for healing, and that was what made it.”
Both Boswell and McGlothren said this isn’t an isolated incident, and the whole Road Prison team is always ready to step up and help their fellow employees and those in need in the community.
“We’re in a true sense a family,” Boswell said. “We jump in and try to help any time something like this happens with a family, with one of our guys. We try to help each other.”