LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Early in the mornings, while most of you are sleeping, a group of friends has been building a special bond walking through the South Plains Mall. Now, they are saying goodbye to one of their own.
For decades, the mall walkers have been taking turns picking up coffee and making rounds through the mall before the stores open. They exercise and share stories of war and their families.
One of the originals, 92-year-old Tommy Chamberlain, is hanging up his walking shoes to move to Reno to be closer to family. The two-time purple heart recipient started mall-walking 31 years ago with his wife.
"My wife died, 21 years ago she died, so I've been by myself ever since then, and so I don't know it's been quite an experience and all. Everybody knows me by Tommy. I could walk in and, 'Morning Tommy!', 'Morning Tommy!'" said Tommy.
One of the other walkers organized a celebration for Tommy this morning, and dozens of people came out to wish him farewell.
"We've listened to all his awesome World War II stories, his jokes, he's just a great friend. It's awesome, I'm glad they turned out." said Travis Jones, a 13-year mall walker.
Tommy leaves for Reno with his son this weekend. Only two of the original nine mall walkers are still in the group.