Charles Newnam, a WW II veteran, recently had his wish to receive his high school diploma granted. Like so many other young men of his generation, Newnam dropped out of Roman Catholic High School to join the Navy during World War II. He served four years in the Pacific, and, although proud of his service, always regretted not getting his diploma. As a surpise for him, his daughter submitted a wish application on his behalf, hoping that Twilight Wish could help get his diploma. Newnam was presented with an honorary diploma from Roman Catholic during a surprise presentation at a family party on Saturday, June 4th. Another surprise, riders from Warriors Watch met Newnam and his wife at the Delaware/Pennsylvania border and escorted them to his daughter's home in Southampton, Pennsylvania.
Nancy Stewart, a resident of Monroe Township, NJ, has always dreamed of riding in a blimp. As a young child, she would sit on the beach on the south shore of Long Island and wave at the planes and blimps as they flew past. Now 89, Stewart is grandmother to four and great-grandmother to two, but still dreams of having her wish granted. Stewart was an English teacher for over 20 years and remains active in her church and community, serving as volunteer usher at several local theaters and as an elder in her church. Her wish to ride in a blimp came true on Friday, May 27th when she rode in the MetLife blimp over New Jersey. Special thanks to the MetLife blimp and crew for making Stewart’s lifelong wish a reality!
Marie Ruffin, 68, recently had her wish for a keyboard, stand and bench granted, thanks to the Westmoreland County chapter of Twilight Wish. Ruffin wished for a portable keyboard so that she could play music in local nursing homes which she loves to do. In her own words: "I love making people happy because it makes me happy when they see that someone cares."
Thanks to the generosity of several donors, we were able to send a group of nursing home residents on a day trip out of their facility in May. The activities department of their facility operates on a very minimal budet which makes it difficult for them to provide outings like this for the residents. The six residents enjoyed a bus ride to a delicious lunch at Shady Maple Smorgasbord in East Earl, PA.
Carol Soboczynski, 69, a resident of South Amboy, NJ, recently had her wish for a grave marker that commemorates her brother's military service for his grave granted. Soboczynski made this selfless wish request to honor her brother who she describes as someone who always put others first and was so respected by others. She wrote to us: He helped make my life worthwhile and taught me the values I try to live by today."
Mike and Marilyn Bidzila recently had their simple wish for a new sofa granted, thanks to the Westmoreland County chapter of Twilight Wish. Marilyn is unable to walk so spends the majority of her time in a wheelchair. They wished for a firm sofa so that she would be able to sit on it and not have to spend all her time in the wheelchair. Mike served as an Airman First Class in the Air Force and was involved in their community as a member of the Knights of Columbus. Their wish was granted on May 13, 2016.
Lucille Hiteshew, a longtime fan of the Indiana Pacers, recently had her wish to see a game in person granted, thanks to our Zionsville, Indiana chapter. Lucille had an amazing time, thanks to the generosity of the Pacers!
Dorothy Potts, a resident of Dravosburg, Pennsylvania, had her wish to have her whole family together again granted, thanks to our Allegheny County chapter. Potts, who is 82, has three daughters, five grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Two of her grandchildren live in California and she has not seen them in over two and a half years. Potts’ health is declining and she is now bedridden so having her wish to see her whole family together is very important to her. The Allegheny County chapter arranged to have her two grandchildren fly in from California and spend several days, including Easter weekend, with Potts and the rest of her family.
Ken Harris, a resident of the Abramson Residence in North Wales, PA, had his wish for a new power chair granted, thanks to funding received from the Volpe & Koenig I Promise Charitable Giving Fund. Harris, 70, served in the Navy during the Vietnam War. His old power chair broke a few months ago and was beyond repair. Because he lives on a fixed income, Harris could not afford to replace it on his own. Having his wish granted will enable Harris to maintain his independence and not rely on others to get around his facility.
Judith Partridge, a resident of St. Joseph's Residence in Enfield, CT, had her wish for a power wheelchair granted, thanks to our Long Island, NY chapter. Partridge has several medical conditions and is wheelchair bound. Her only method of getting around was using a manual wheelchair so she either had to rely on others to push her around or had to use her feet to push the chair herself. Partridge served in the Medical Corps of the U.S. Army as a medical specialist working in physical therapy. After her discharge, she belonged to the American Legion and was involved in supporting other veterans. A generous donor bought the chair for her and James Ciervo, our Long Island, NY chapter director delivered it on Thursday, March 10th.
Faye Hanson, a resident of Pittsburgh, had her wish to receive an honorary degree from the University of Mount Union granted, thanks to the Allegheny County chapter of Twilight Wish Foundation. Hanson attended Mount Union in the 1950s and was in her senior year, studying pre-med when experienced several tragic life-altering events. Because of this, she was forced to leave school and never completed her degree. Now 76, Hanson still talks about her college days and regrets not finishing her degree. Her wish to receive an honorary degree from Mount Union was granted on Wednesday, March 9th during a ceremony honoring her at her nursing facility in Pittsburgh.
Angela Brindley, a resident of Oak Harbor, Ohio, was recently surprised by a visit from McDonald’s icon, Ronald McDonald, thanks to Twilight Wish and the Humbard family, owner of the local McDonald’s. Brindley, 96, was recently diagnosed with cancer and has very little appetite. In trying to find foods that she would eat, her family discovered that she loves McDonald’s Sausage McMuffins. She eats half in the morning and the other half later in the day. With her recent cancer diagnosis, her family thought it would lift her spirits to surprise her with a visit from Ronald McDonald and they contacted us.
When they heard of the Brindleys’ request, the Humbard family immediately responded and set up a visit from Ronald. On Friday, February 26th, Ronald McDonald and the Humbard family surprised Brindley with breakfast, a gift basket and a $500 check to help with her medical expenses. Brindley truly enjoyed this special visit and it definitely lifted her spirits.
Huge Penguins' fan Betty Cummings, 91, her wish to watch them play in person granted, thanks to the Allegheny County chapter of Twilight Wish and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Cummings is a huge sports fan and loves to watch the Penguins play on her little television, cheering on her favorite player, Sidney Crosby! Widowed 12 years ago, Cummings has five daughters, 13 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren. She is known for her amazing attitude and giving nature. Cummings volunteered for over 20 years for Meals on Wheels, retiring at the age of 90. She is also very involved in her church: she sings in the choir, is an officer in the Christian Women’s Guild, visits shut-ins, works at church festivals, attends daily Mass and is a lector, cantor and Eucharistic minister. This deserving woman’s wish came true thanks to the Pittsburgh Penguins who went above and beyond to make her wish so amazing. They donated suite tickets and refreshments and made sure that Betty was visited by her seven family members who also attended the game.
Samuel Cree, 72, was born and raised in Washington County. Cree took care of his mother until she passed away and now lives on his own. He recently had a stroke and is no longer able to work or keep up with repairs around his home. He is in desperate need of a new washing machine but cannot afford one on his fixed income. Cree was active in the community throughout his life, including working on Saturdays in the township recycling department. His simple wish for a new washing machine was granted thanks to the Washington County chapter of Twilight Wish. Cree was presented with a certificate honoring him for all he has done for others throughout his life on Tuesday, February 2, 2016 at a special disco-themed luncheon. Cree is a huge disco fan!! Thank you to Bridgeville Appliances for discounting the cost of the washing machine and providing free delivery and set up. Also, thanks to the following chapter volunteers for their hard work in granting this wish: Marie Guarascio, Activity Director of Transitions Healthcare; DeAnna Naumann, Marketing Representative of Sunny Days In Home Care; and Christine McGuire, Director of Admissions, Consulate Healthcare.
Phyllis Lakin, 85, a resident of Greensburg, PA, had her simple wish for hearing aids granted, thanks to the Westmoreland County chapter of Twilight Wish. Lakin had severe hearing loss and struggled to take part in conversations. She could not longer hear her family when they called her and couldn't take part in social activities at her community. Thanks to Emerson Fazekis and Miracle Ear of Greensburg who greatly discounted her hearing aids, her wish was granted. A special thanks also to Bill Bernard owner of The Boulevard Restaurant in Greensburg for treating Lakin to a delicious lunch as part of her wish granting. Finally, a big thank you to Christy Stahl from The Thorne Group for her hard work on this wish.
Frank McCole, a resident of Coatesville, PA, had his wish to fly over his hometown of Bristol, as well as Newtown Square and his current home of Coatesville, granted on Sunday, January 17th, thanks to national nonprofit Twilight Wish Foundation. McCole, 82, wanted to reminisce about his life, starting with his childhood in Bristol and ending with his current home in Coatesville. He is a Korean War veteran who served in the Navy as a service electrician’s mate on the U.S.S. LSM 398. In addition, McCole, a father of five children, volunteered as a softball coach for his three daughters for 10 years. Thanks to pilots from the Warrington Flight Club who are donating their time to fly McCole, his wish was granted. His flight was originally scheduled for December 27th, but inclement weather postponed it until January 17th.
Harry Eney, known to his friends and family as Woody, had his wish to talk to actor Henry Winkler granted on January 11, 2016. Eney has been an actor his entire adult life and guest starred in many television series including Family Ties, Mork and Mindy and Happy Days, to name a few. Unfortunately, Eney has advanced Parkinson's Disease and now lives in a nursing facility as his wife could no longer care for him. He was nominated by his cousin to have this wish granted in the hopes that this would lift his spirits. She asked him which actor he would like to see again and he said Henry Winkler because he remembers him being so kind and gracious to him on the set. Because Eney lives in Richmond, it was not possible for Winkler to visit him in person, but Twilight Wish was able to arrange for them to Skype together!
Adolfo Saucedo, a resident of Tucson, Arizona, recently had his wish to travel to Dallas to see his grandson retire from the military granted. Saucedo himself is a Korean War veteran who received both the Purple Heart and Bronze Star for his bravery and service. His family is very important to him and he did not want to miss this milestone in his grandson's life, but couldn't afford the cost of the flight on his fixed income. Thanks to our Tucson, Arizona chapter, his wish was granted in December.
Edwin Shapiro is a World War II veteran who served on the USS San Diego (CL 53) in the Pacific theatre during the war. Shapiro, who turned 90 on December 9th, lives on his own in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. He is very proud of his time on the USS San Diego and, according to his daughter-in-law who nominated him, still talks about his service frequently. Shapiro knows there is a memorial honoring the crew of the San Diego in California, but he is too frail to make the trip to see the memorial. His daughter-in-law, Christine Shapiro, thought that seeing a photo of the memorial and the engraving of his name would be a wonderful surprise for his recent birthday. Twilight Wish staff member Mary Farrell has family who live in San Diego who offered to visit the memorial and take photos and a video of it. Twilight Wish staff presented Shapiro with a photo collage and album of the memorial in early December.
Eleanor Mokula, a resident of a local skilled nursing facility in Girard, PA recently had her wish granted by our Erie, PA chapter. Eleanor, 85, spent time thinking about what she would wish for and after many ideas, decided upon a gift card to Barnes and Noble. She is an avid reader and wanted to purchase a book about Tiger Woods or the movie directed by Jon Stewart. Eleanor used to bake cookies for residents at local nursing homes. She was also worked as a volunteer knitting hats for local community shelters.