Pizza for a cause: Eastern New Mexico Domino's donating sales to local veteran with cancer

Pizza for a cause: Eastern New Mexico Domino's donating sales to local veteran with cancer
Domino's in Portales (Source: KFDA)
Domino's in Portales (Source: KFDA)
Gaston Barnett (Source: Gaston Barnett)
Gaston Barnett (Source: Gaston Barnett)

PORTALES, N.M. (KFDA) - A member of the United States Air Force, Gaston Barnett has served his country around the world.

"Did eight years active duty, loading and unloading aircraft and then after that, I joined the Air National Guard," said Barnett.

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Now, this military veteran is fighting his hardest battle yet -- stage four cancer.

"I started a coughing fit back in March 2017 and they kept on telling me it was pneumonia," said Barnett. "I had fevers. They gave me pills for that, but they never did real tests."

Finally, in December, medical tests showed the worst.

"They did x-rays and a CAT scan and found out I had lymphoma," said Barnett.

He then transferred his treatment to Lubbock and the diagnosis worsened.

"They did another CAT scan and it was already spreading from having lymphoma into my lungs," said Barnett. "It was already stage four by the time they started treatment."

His mom was already planning a move to New Mexico when the diagnosis came just a few months ago.

"When he got the diagnosis and his company representative called me and said, 'no, you're needed here now' because he was in very bad shape," recalled Barnett's mother, Louella Bourbeaux.

After Bourbeaux made the emergency move to Portales, members of the community came together to help her unpack. She then wanted to pay it forward.

"I had called Domino's, this Domino's, to see if I could buy some pizzas for the volunteers, so that's the least I could do," said Bourbeaux.

A chance encounter with general manager Daniel Willis took community generosity to the next level.

"After she told me the story with Gaston and the reason why she was coming here, I told her I would like to take it a step further and set up a fundraiser for her to do this for them," said Willis. "I believe that being a part of the community means giving back."

"My jaw hit the ground. I was like you've got to be kidding me," said Bourbeaux. "And they said, 'nope, when you get here, we'll arrange it all.'"

During Monday's Have a Heart Day, the Portales Domino's, along with locations in Clovis and Cannon Air Force Base, teamed up to donate 100-percent of the day's profits to Barnett's medical expenses. Even after the lobby closes at 10 p.m., proceeds from deliveries until midnight will also go toward the donation drive.

Additionally, there is a GoFundMe account if people are unable to make it to Domino's in Eastern New Mexico.

Barnett says the community support has been amazing.

"February was my one year mark over here, living over here, and I'm already gaining a lot of support," said Barnett. "Everyone has been helping me out."

Willis noted that the decision by Domino's to give back was a no-brainer.

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