Former Nurse Talks Of Reagan Meeting - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

6/11/04-Tyler

Former Nurse Talks Of Reagan Meeting

The year was 1957.  East Texan Dell Hagan was a nurse, working at the General Electric plant in Tyler.  Ronald Reagan was an actor, in town for a public relations tour of the plant.  The two met for a brief moment, but it was a moment Hagan has never forgotten.

It's been 40 years since Dell Hagan met the man who would be President, yet the memories of that day are still fresh on her mind.

"(Co-workers) had all kinds of things made up that they wanted me to say to him that I never did say, it would have been foolish."

Hagan worked as the nurse at the General Electric plant in Tyler. She was just one of many who met the future president that day and said they were all impressed.

"He could have been President then as far as we were concerned because his speeches were totally, completely patriotic."

Twenty years later, the actor would take on the role of President. In that time Hagan helped to start the first Alzheimer's clinic in the state. Little did she know that the the man once hired to raise spirits of a company she worked for, would now help to raise awareness of a disease she worked to cure.

"I actually heard him on television when he announced (that he had the disease)," she said "I think it heightened the awareness of Alzheimer's disease, I think there is no question about that."

Hagan continues her work with Alzheimer's patients, drawing hope from the former President.

"I've always believed that he was just an ordinary person that just happened to have a lot to offer and we were very, very fortunate that we had him as our President."

Dell Hagan said she agrees with Nancy Reagan that stem cell research should be looked at as a possible cure for Alzheimer's disease. She said she'll forever cherish the day she got to meet the former President.

Chris Gibson, reporting
cgibson@kltv.com

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