Man gets terminal illness—then whole town pays respect in heartwarming way

"Bill Gates could not come to Corbett and buy this."
October 23, 2017 9:26 am Last Updated: October 23, 2017 9:26 am


If you go to Oregon and head down below the Colombia River, you’ll run into a small town called Corbett, and in this small town just about everyone you come across can agree on one thing: Woody Davis has a heart of gold.

“He’s the epitome of something dear,” said one woman. “He’s uncommon, he’s special, he’s a gift that this community has had all these years.” 

That’s what residents of Corbett call him because for the past 50 years, there hasn’t been one thing Woody Davis wouldn’t do for anyone who needed help. He is a kind and generous soul, an all around good guy. The kind who always waves to everyone he passes in his truck.

Everyone loves Woody.

That’s why almost everyone in this town spent almost an entire year in 2012 going out of their way to try to pay back the good deeds Woody’s done throughout the years after learning his days were numbered.

Woody’s son, Clint Davis knew his dad was popular but he had no idea just how much everyone loved him until the day he was diagnosed with ALS and didn’t have much time left to live.

“Bill Gates could not come to Corbett and buy this,” Davis told CBS.

“You can’t buy the love that people have poured out for dad.”

Folks in Corbett thought they’d start with the small, simple things.

Dozens of people cut and stacked hundreds of logs for firewood for Woody’s winter, others fixed his old truck, and everyone else did what they could to show Woody just how much he meant to them.

And almost every Corbett resident wrote out their thoughts and thank yous for Woody to read on a handcrafted pine box he would lay to rest in in just a few months.

Instead of waiting for the eulogy to praise him, the people of Corbett paid their respects during his last months of life.

Woody said he wasn’t sad about his diagnosis, but instead, grateful to be “dying slowly” because he got the opportunity to know how much he’s touched the lives of his friends, neighbors, and community.

He was already showing signs of the progressing disease but managed to say to Steve Hartman of CBS, “I can’t believe it. I feel blessed that I’m dying slowly,” adding, “because people have a chance to express to me how they feel.”

The Corbett legend couldn’t hold back his tears as he read the heartfelt messages people wrote thanking him for his generosity and kindness.

He had no idea just how much he was loved until the entire town decided to show him.

But the greatest gift the people of Corbett could probably give Woody is the peace of mind knowing he touched their lives tremendously.

Then, on a Tuesday in August 2012, after spending months with loved ones, neighbors, and friends, Woody passed away. His life was honored in a service attended by more than 700 people and had to be held in a different town to accommodate the hundreds paying their respects.

Woody was taken back to Corbett by horseback, where people lined the streets and saluted Woody the same way he did to them: with an open hand, an open heart, and a sincere smile.

Watch the heartwarming story below.