BOSSIER PARISH, LA (KSLA) - A Bossier Parish deputy, who works in the Corrections Division, received a heart-warming welcome back to work after battling cancer for nearly a year.
Not every deputy who walks into work gets the kind of welcome received Monday, but for Barrett Lovell, people came out by the dozens to greet him.
"Oh, that was something else. I wasn't expecting all of that many people out there to welcome me back. I figured it would just be a hello when you come back to work," said Lovell
That might be true if you left Friday and came back Monday, but Lovell hasn't been at work for 11 months. In August of 2014, Lovell was diagnosed with Acute Leukemia. He reflected on what he felt when he heard the word cancer.
"I don't really know how to put into words what was going through my head," he said. "But it was, I guess, fear was the closest thing because there's so much, even though I know the world has come so far in treating leukemia, but it's still a scary word."
Through his treatment, he hit highs and lows. But perhaps at his lowest, a young girl named Helen, who also has leukemia, stepped up to motivate a perfect stranger in a message she sent to him.
"Never, ever give up. You have to get out of that bed. Do it for the one's who love you and admire you," said Helen.
It was that message that kept Lovell fighting, and when he returned to work, Helen was there to welcome him back as well.
"I like it that Barrett came back to his job because he's a nice man," she said.
Lovell, smiling from ear to ear, and visually touched by all the emotional support said this about everyone coming out today.
"I can tell you it hasn't only been today, it's been the whole 11 months," he said. "The sheriff's department has been great, and people I work with. Friends, family, everybody's just been great."
A large aspect of Lovell's recovery was through receiving blood. Without blood donations, he likely would not have survived. He encourages everyone who is able to donate blood.