Robert Lardin, a resident of Turtle Creek, PA, recently had his lifelong wish to ride in a blimp granted, thanks to the Allegheny County chapter of Twilight Wish Foundation. Growing up, Lardin was always interested in aviation, especially blimps. He recalls an instance when he was talking to the crew of the Budweiser blimp, he was almost knocked over by it, but he was so thrilled to be that close to a blimp he didn't care! A Navy veteran, Lardin also continues to serve others through his volunteer work in a local hospital. His wish came true on Sunday, October 9th when Lardin and his grandson took to the skies over Pittsburgh in the MetLife blimp! Thank you to MetLife for granting another amazing blimp wish for Twilight Wish!
William Ruff, a resident of Birmingham, Alabama, recently had his wish for a desktop computer granted, thanks to our Alabama chapter under the direction of Jim Elrod. Ruff, 68, has two passions in life: creating music and his involvement in the local chapter of National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Ruff is very involved in NAMI as a peer specialist and volunteer fundraiser. He is very passionate about ensuring that people with mental illness receive excellent care as well as support in the community. The computer will enable him to put in more hours as a volunteer fundraiser for NAMI. In addition, Ruff enjoys writing music and lyrics. He often collaborates with a friend in Floriday who also creates music and lyrics. The computer will allow the two of them to continue to develop/create together through the internet, face time and skype. Chapter director Jim Elrod delivered the new desktop computer to Ruff on October 11, 2016.
Edwin Slivinski, 92, a resident of Brevillier in Erie, PA, enjoyed his favorite meal at Serafini's Restaurant with his family. Ed has fished all his life and originally wished to go out on a boat fishing, but because he is in a wheelchair, no boat could accomodate him. Instead, our Erie, PA chapter arranged for the next best thing for Ed: a fresh Lake Erie perch dinner with his family!
Agnes Dager, 91, a resident of Ambler, PA, recently had her wish for a lift chair granted. Agnes has a difficult time getting up from her sofa because of her balance issues and arthritis. Her new lift chair will allow her to remain independent and improve her quality of life.
Margaret Werren, 92, recently had her wish to attend the monthly meeting of the Eugene, Oregon chapter of the American Rosie the Riveter Association granted. Margaret is one of the original Rosies from World War II and worked in a munitions plant in California during the war. She is active in her community, volunteering at the Eureka Rescue Mission and Auxiliary Senior Resource Center. Margaret also speaks before groups about World War II and her time as a Rosie. Originally, her wish was to go to the national reunion in Atlanta, but because of her age, it became too difficult for her to make the trip. The Eugene, Oregon chapter invited her to attend their September meeting and we arranged for her and her daughter to make the trip.
Anthony Ferlanto, 75, a resident of Tucson, Arizona, recently had his wish for a laptop granted by our Tucson chapter. Anthony is an Army veteran and has one son who he raised on his own from birth. He wished for a laptop to make it easier to keep in touch with his son. Anthony also loves to read and will use the laptop to study Greek and Hebrew so that he can better understand the Bible.
Mary Rose Carreo, a resident of Geneseo, New York, had her wish to meet a Buffalo Bills’ player granted thanks to the generosity of the Bills’ organization. Carreo has been a Buffalo Bills’ fan since she can remember and has attended games and training camp in the past. Carreo, who turned 100 on July 20th, is still a huge football fan and wished to meet a Buffalo Bills player for her birthday. She and her husband were married for 62 years until his passing in 2001. Together they raised two daughters and Carreo now has seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. In addition to raising her daughters, Carreo worked for over 20 years in the local middle school and high school cafeterias. She also volunteered for the ladies auxiliary at the local fire department, was a Girl Scout leader and was very active in St. Mary’s Church. Her wish was granted on Friday, August 5th when she met several players including head coach Rex Ryan, quarterback Tyrod Taylor, Reggie Bush and LeSean McCoy to name a few. The Bills also treated her to a mini shopping spree at the gift shop and gave her a customized jersey with "100" on it.
Robert Lane, 89, a resident of Scottdale, PA recently had his wish for motorized scooter granted, thanks to our Westmoreland County chapter. Lane lives with his wife in senior housing who is also wheelchair bound. Lane is on oxygen 24/7 and gets out of breath easily when trying to use his manual wheelchair. Having a motorized scooter will greatly improve his quality of life.
Donna Thomas, a resident of West Newton, PA, recently had her simple wish for a new vacuum cleaner granted, thanks to our Westmoreland County chapter. Thomas, 86, served in the U.S. Air Force for four years. She is now widowed and lives on her own. Thomas needed a new vacuuum cleaner, but couldn't afford it on her own.
Johnny Carlisle, a resident of Birmingham, Alabama, recently had his wish for a lift chair granted by our Alabama chapter. Carlisle served in the Army during the Vietnam War. He is now in hospice care and suffering from end stage cardiac disease. He was so grateful to receive his lift chair as it will improve his quality of life and give him some independence.
J.J. Wehmeyer, a resident of Doylestown, PA, had her wish for an air conditioner unit granted on July 7, 2016. Wehmeyer lives in subsidized housing where air conditioners are not provided for residents and must be special ordered to fit in the sleeve provided in the apartment. Because she lives on a fixed income, she could not afford it on her own.
Mary Thomas, 95, a resident of Brooklyn, will have her simple wish for a room makeover granted, thanks to our Long Island, New York chapter. Thomas was recently discharged from a nursing facility and now lives in the ground floor of her former home. She is homebound and requires 24-hour care. The room she is living in now is very dark and paneled and needs furnishings. Her case manager nominated her to have a room makeover to make her more at home and comfortable. New York chapter director James Ciervo and volunteers transformed Thomas’ room from dingy to warm and cozy. Thomas received a new bed, dresser, easy chair, and more, plus a television that she can actually see. This room makeover took place on Tuesday, July 5th at her home.
Sylvia Finnigan, a resident of Clinton Township, Michigan, recently had her wish for hearing aids granted by the recnelty-formed Michigan chapter and Hearing Consultants of Sterling Heights. This is the first wish granted by the Michigan chapter.
Finnigan, 73, has hearing loss and, without working hearing aids, experienced many obstacles in daily living. She raised her five children on her own as a single parent. After her youngest child graduated from high school, Finnigan enrolled in college and graduated with a B.A. from Oakland University. She currently works for the Senior Community Service Employment Program and is an active volunteer in her community. Finnigan volunteers with the Kiwanis Club of Mount Clemens, with the Anton Art Center and with the Taste of Troy fundraiser for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Troy, to name a few. In addition, she was a finalist for the Michigan Governor’s Community Service Award in 1997.
Her wish was granted on Thursday, June 23rd during a short ceremony at Hearing Consultants’ offices in Sterling Heights. Hearing Consultants donated all their services and new hearing aids to Finnigan. In addition, Lake Painting of Midland is sponsoring a two-year supply of hearing aid batteries for her. Chapter director Jessica Schluckebier presented Finnigan with a certificate honoring her for all she has done for others throughout her life.
Photo caption: From left: Michigan Chapter Director, Jessica Schluckebier; wish receipient, Sylvia Finnigan; and Marina Kade, audiologist at Hearing Consultants.
Robert Havey, 91, a resident of Pittsburgh, PA, recently had his wish to have his flower beds cleaned up granted, thanks to our Allegheny County chapter. Havey served in the Army during World War II and his unit helped liberate France. He has always been involved in his community, volunteered with the Boy Scouts and helping with the renovation of his church. In addition, Havey is in his 16th year of volunteering at Allegheny General Hospital! He always took great pride in the appearance of his yard, but as he got older, it became more difficult for him to manage. His wish was granted on June 26th when a group of volunteers from the Allegheny County chapter weeded, planted and mulched to make his yard look beautiful again.
Jean Magnant, a resident of Indianapolis, Indiana had her wish to visit her 93-year-old sister who lives in a facility in Texas granted, thanks to the partnership between the Twilight Wish Foundation Chapter of Indiana and American Senior Communities. Magnant, who is 100, is a resident of Rosegate, a proud member of American Senior Communities. She and her sister, Mary Richards, talk weekly on the phone, but haven’t seen each other in over five years. When the two sisters were younger and both married, they would frequently travel hundreds of miles to visit each other. After their husbands passed away, they continued to travel to each other’s homes. As they got older, it became more difficult for them to make the drive and then Richards moved to Fort Worth, Texas to be closer to her daughter. Magnant and her late husband volunteered throughout their 52-year-long marriage at St. Francis Hospital and St. Jude Catholic Church. She still keeps herself busy at 100 by making rosaries for her church, playing Words with Friends on her tablet and reading the newspaper daily. Magnant and her daughters traveled to Dallas on Wednesday, June 15th and visited with her sister.
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."