Vickie Taylor probably won’t leave her husband Robbie’s side for the two to four weeks he’s in the hospital in Charlotte, after upcoming heart surgery. And the couple’s friends want to make sure she can stay.
Which is why Neil Parrisher has organized a corn hole tournament, hot dog lunch, and a series of raffles and auctions to cover expenses the family will incur by remaining by Taylor’s side.
“I know going through stuff like this is a big strain on the family,” said Parrisher, director of public safety at Richmond Community College and a friend of Taylor’s son Robbie (Robert Lee Taylor III), RCC’s vice president for workforce and economic development.
“A lot of people care about him,” Parrisher said this week. “I can tell by the outpouring of support.”
Robert Lee “Robbie” Taylor Jr., 64, was a police officer in Hamlet before moving to the Rockingham department and eventually earning the rank of lieutenant. His father, Bobby (Robert Lee Taylor Sr.), and son Robbie (Robert Lee Taylor III) both were sheriff’s deputies.
A “straight-up nice guy,” according to friend and retired deputy Larry Smith, Taylor suffered a heart attack about 2o years ago, at age 45, and then underwent a quadruple bypass. He was five years older than his dad was when a similar attack killed him.
Recently, said son Robbie, Taylor has suffered “a couple episodes where he couldn’t breathe” — a seemingly unlikely situation for a man who once played “every sport he could.”
Formerly a candidate for a heart transplant but now too weak to be considered for one, son Robbie said, Taylor instead will be outfitted with an LVAD, a surgically implanted mechanical pump that helps the heart move more blood with less work. (“LVAD” stands for “left ventricular assist device” because it steers oxygen-enriched blood from the heart’s left ventricle to the aorta.)
Taylor III said of his father that he “didn’t realize how many people he knew … that thought well of him.”
As for his mother, he said, “I would be surprised if she leaves” Taylor Jr.’s side.
“If I can get her to come home at all, I’ll be lucky,” he said.
Former Rockingham Police Chief Eddie Martin brought up Taylor’s situation at Hamlet City Council on Tuesday, asking for “prayers and thoughts.” On Wednesday, he described Taylor as “a good guy, an enjoyable guy and … well liked.”
It always has stuck in his mind, Martin said, that Taylor never missed a day of school from grade one to 12. That, Martin said, demonstrated determination and integrity — qualities he said Taylor displayed until he was forced to retire on disability after suffering his heart attack at police headquarters.
Taylor’s brother Stevie retired from the Hamlet Police as a captain within the last year, Martin said.
“They’re all good people,” Martin said of the family —“just good people.”
Reach Christine Carroll at 910-817-2673 or [email protected]