Jane Rhodaberger, an 83-year-old resident of Cabot, Pennsylvania, had her wish to go to a Pirates game and meet second baseman Neil Walker granted, thanks to the Butler County chapter of Twilight Wish Foundation. The two most important things in Rhodaberger are her family and baseball. As the mother of 13 children, Rhodaberger always put her family first. She is grandmother to 40 grandchildren and will welcome her 37th great-grandchild in September. In addition, Rhodaberger is an active member of St. John’s Byzantine Catholic Church in Butler and has volunteered at Herman Fire Hall for over 40 years. Her wish to go to a Pirates game and meet Neil Walker was granted on Thursday, September 10th. In addition, she walked across the Roberto Clemente Bridge to PNC Park with her family, something she has always wanted to do. 75 of her family members accompanied her to the game! Thank you to the Pittsburgh Pirates who donated 13 tickets for this wish and arranged for Rhodaberger to meet Walker.
Emma Wright, a resident of Mt. Pleasant, PA, had her wish to travel to Orlando to attend the Morris Cerullo Worldwide School of Ministry granted by our Westmoreland County chapter. Wright, 92, is very passionate about her faith and is an avid follower of evangelist Morris Cerullo. Wright volunteers with her church, baking cookies to sell to raise funds for the missionaries. Wright is a mother of four and has ten grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren. According to her nominator, Wright is an amazing woman. She recently visited with her family and rode a quad with one of the great grand-children and tried a trampoline! Wright and her friend, Karen Schmidt, traveled from Latrobe to Orlando, leaving on Thursday, September 3rd and returning on Monday, September 7th.
David Coonahan, a resident of Neshaminy Manor in Warrington, had his wish to attend a Phillies game granted on his 96th birthday, thanks to Twilight Wish Foundation and the Phillies organization. Coonahan is a lifelong Phillies fan and watches every game on television. He is a new resident at Neshaminy Manor and relies on a wheelchair to get around. Having his wish granted would lift his spirits, according to Director of Recreation, Kathy Bates. Coonahan is a World War II veteran who served in Pearl Harbor for four years after the Japanese attacked. He was very active in his parish, Holy Martyrs, for many years and is their oldest living member. Coonahan, two other Neshaminy Manor residents and family members enjoyed a night at Citizens Bank Park to watch the Phillies take on the San Diego Padres, thanks to the generosity of the Philadelphia Phillies organization.
Don Crohe, a resident of Neshaminy Manor in Warrington, had his wish to return to his hometown of Bristol for the day granted, thanks to local nonprofit Twilight Wish Foundation. Crohe, who is 68, volunteered as both a fireman with Bristol Fire Department (Station 53) and as an EMT for the Bucks County Rescue Squad for 46 years until he became sick. Over the years of his service, Crohe delivered nine babies and rescued several people from burning homes. He still keeps in touch with the first baby he ever delivered! Crohe is also an Army veteran who served during the Vietnam War. On Thursday, August 27th, Crohe’s brother, Harry Crohe, drove him in a wheelchair-accessible van to Bristol where they visited several of Don’s favorite places including a stop at the America Hose, Hook & Ladder Company, #2, Station 53. Special thanks to MobilityWorks of Bethlehem for discounting the cost of the van rental. Pictured: Don and Harry Crohe.
Martha Miles, a resident of Brownsburg Meadows in Brownsburg, Indiana, had her wish to attend an Indianapolis Colts football game granted, thanks to a partnership between the Indiana chapter of national nonprofit Twilight Wish Foundation and American Senior Communities. Miles has been an avid Colts fan ever since they moved to Indianapolis in 1984. She has not been able to attend a game since being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1995, but still watches every single game on television. Now 82, Miles wished to attend one more game in person telling her nominator, Tonya Pearcy, Activities Director at her facility, “It would be amazing to be part of a live game one more time.” Miles raised five children on her own and worked hard to provide them with everything they needed. Despite her busy life, she taught Sunday school at Chapel Rock Church for years and was part of a mission trip to Poland where she helped to build a church in a small village. Her wish to attend a Colts game came true on Saturday, August 22nd, thanks to the Colts organization who donated eight seats in a suite, food and drinks. The Colts also sent Miles Colts memorabilia to make her day even more special. But, the best part of her day was having Matt Overton, Adam Vinatieri and Pat McAfee introduce themselves to her and chat for a while!
Joseph Vennera, a hospice patient in Norristown, PA, recently had his wish to see people dance the jitterbug one more time granted. Vennera, 84, loved to dance when he was younger. Six couples from local dance clubs surprised him at his facility and danced the jitterbug while he watched happily.
Elizabeth Watt, a resident of Delmont, PA, recently had her wish for an autographed Andrew McCutchen jersey granted. Dr. Jennifer Douglas of Delmont Family Medicine nominated her patient Elizabeth Watt to the Westmoreland County chapter of Twilight Wish to have her wish to go to a Pirates game and meet her favorite player granted. This fall, Elizabeth will be celebrating her 102nd birthday. While her health didn't permit a trip to PNC Park, her wish was fulfilled with a signed jersey.
Helen Brown, a resident of Tucson, Arizona, recently had her wish for a new mattress granted, thanks to our Tucson chapter and Mattress Firm. Brown, 90, suffers from back, shoulder and joint problems and needed a better, more supportive mattress, but couldn't afford one on her own. Mattress Firm donated a mattress and boxspring for Brown.
Kenneth Brooks, a 71-year-old resident of Tucson, Arizona, recently had his wish for dentures granted, thanks to our Tucson chapter. Brooks, a veteran of the Marines, could not afford dentures on his own. His new dentures will enable him to eat and speak properly and will allow him to be more social.
Patti Sereno, 71, a resident of Tucson, Arizona recently had her wish for hearing aids granted thanks to the Tucson chapter of Twilight Wish and El Dorado Audiology. Sereno is deaf in her left ear from a childhood bout with mumps and was starting to lose hearing in her right ear. She struggled to hear for yeras as her hearing faded, but couldn't afford hearing aids on her own. Our Tucson chapter worked with El Dorado Audiology to outfit Sereno with hearing aids. El Dorado and Widex, the manufacturer of the hearing aids, donated the new device valued at $6,000.
Thanks to a generous donor, Gladys' wish will soon be granted! Gladys is described as a tender hearted, very humble lady who is always smiling. She is currently the Resident Council President at her nursing home and is an active member of the Red Hat Ladies Club. One of her favorite memories was going to the casino with her now deceased husband to play the slot machines. She especially like the lights and the bountiful buffets. She wishes to return to a casino with her son, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren to celebrate her recent birthday.
Lee resident Meda Durepo recently had her wish to meet Dustin Pedroia of the Boston Red Sox, thanks to the New Hampshire chapter of Twilight Wish Foundation. Durepo has been an avid Boston Red Sox fan for her whole life and her favorite player is second baseman Dustin Pedroia. She watches every game on television, but had never been to a game in person. For her 92nd birthday, her daughter, Cheryl Geddo, bought seats right above the Red Sox bullpen, but wanted to make her birthday extra special by having her meet Pedroia. She submitted a wish application to Twilight Wish who, in turn, contacted the Red Sox. The Red Sox went above and beyond in granting this wish: Durepo was given a tour of Fenway and attended batting practice where she was given a ball and bat. Then, Pedroia came over and introduced himself to Durepo and signed her ball. The Red Sox also wished her a happy birthday on the scoreboard during the 5th inning!
Having her wish granted meant the world to Durepo who lost her son in 2013 and her husband of 65 years in 2014. She is known to all who know her as a very giving person who puts others first. She has been the president of the Lee Church Women’s Guild for over 40 years. Durepo has also been a volunteer for the Red Cross for many years and still volunteers her time for their blood drives.
Fred Wessels, a resident of Brownsburg Meadows in Brownsburg, Indiana, had his wish to attend an Indianapolis Indians baseball game with his friends granted, thanks to a partnership between the Indiana chapter of Twilight Wish Foundation and American Senior Communities. A Korean War veteran, Wessels is a lifelong baseball fan who played catcher on his high school team and later coached Little League for years. Before becoming a resident of Brownsburg Meadows, Wessels and his daughter attended Indians games with his daughter. Now 86, he wished to go to one more game with his friends. Wessels, along with family and friends, attended the July 5th Indians game in a box suite.
Ella Powell, a resident of Jeannette, PA, recently had her wish for a lift chair granted, thanks to the Westmoreland County chapter of Twilight Wish Foundation. Ella worked her whole life in factories and also found time to volunteer in her community food bank and soup kitchen. She has severe arthritis and her new lift chair will allow her to get up from a sitting position on her own.
Jeanine Filipowski, a resident of Ball Pavilion Nursing Home in Erie, had her wish to see a live performance of “Dancing with the Stars” granted, thanks to the Erie chapter of Twilight Wish Foundation. Filipowski, 84, and her daughter, Rebecca, watch “Dancing with the Stars” together every week. Ballroom dancing has a special place in Filipowski’s heart because she met her late husband in a dance hall in Clarion, Pennsylvania. Filipowski was very involved in her community volunteering at Our Lady of Peace School, in the Rosary Society at Our Lady of Peace Church, and was president of the Board of Directors in the East Erie Turners Social Club. Not only was her wish granted on Wednesday, June 24, 2015, but she met her favorite dancer, Val Chmerkovskiy.
Barbara Paproski, 71, a resident of Erie, PA recently had her wish for a new lift chair granted. Her old one was broken beyond repair and her family was worried that she would fall trying to stand up on her own. Barbara is a prolific reader and spends much of her time in her chair, but couldn't afford to replace her old chair and neither could her family. Barbara raised two sons as a single mother and worked as a nurse for 35 years. She volunteered extensively in her community with the Boy Scouts, Muscular Dystrophy Association, Hamot Mental Health Advisory Board, and the American Association of Critical Care Nurses. In addition, she is a concierge at St. Joseph Apartments where she lives and volunteered on their entertainment committee. Her wish for a new lift chair was granted in July of 2015.
Patricia Glasser, a 96-year-old resident of Greensburg, Pennsylvania, had her wish to ride a horse one more time granted, thanks to the Westmoreland County chapter of Twilight Wish Foundation. Glasser and her husband owned horses for years until he became ill. When he needed his leg amputated, she gave up the horses she loved so she could devote all her time to his care. Her husband passed away three years ago and the rest of her family lives in Texas so she has no one who can take her to a stable to ride. The activities director at her facility, who nominated Glasser, wrote “Pat is still so passionate about horses and being able to ride again would mean the world to her.” Her wish was granted on Wednesday, June 17, 2015. Glasser was treated to a lunch at Cracker Barrel with Twilight Wish volunteers and then headed to Bogley Quarter Horses in Wyano where Glasser was able to ride a horse again.
Mae Krier, one of the original Rosie the Riveters from World War II, recently had her wish to travel to the American Rosie the Riveter Association's convention in Richmond, CA.
Krier, 89, is one of the original “Rosie the Riveter’s of World War II. In 1943, after just graduating from high school in North Dakota, Krier and her family moved to Seattle for war work. At the young age of 17, she got a job working on B-17s and B-29s for Boeing in Seattle. One of her proudest memories is helping to build the 5 Grand, the 5,000th B-17 made by Boeing after Pearl Harbor. Krier, still a teenager at the time, and her co-workers painted their names on her fuselage. They were so proud of their hard work they pushed the plane out of the factory door onto the tarmac themselves. The 5 Grand passed inspection despite its lack of camouflage; the U.S. Army Air Corps made an exception thinking that the autographed plane would be good for morale. Krier kept track of the plane carrying her rivets as it flew 78 missions over Europe, shooting down two Nazi planes.
While in Seattle, Krier met her husband, Norm, a Navy man on the dance floor at the Service Man’s Center there. They married din April of 1945, just before the war ended and were married for 69 years until his passing in June of 2014. Shortly after they married, Norm was transferred to the naval air station in Pasco, Washington. Krier got a job at the base packing supplies to be sent overseas and worked alongside Italian prisoners of war who were interned at the base.
The ARRA reunion was held in Richmond, California and lasted for three days. Krier had a wonderful time and had the opportunity to exchange war stories with fellow “Rosies.” She meets regularly with other Rosies in the Philadelphia area and maintains contact with some from far-away places. After the convention, she added a few more to her list
Claudia Spalla, 81, a resident of Erie, PA, had her wish for a new flagpole granted thanks to our Erie, PA chapter. Claudia was nominated by her hospice social worker to have her simple wish granted. She is an avid Steelers fan and had always wanted a flagpole in her front yard. She stated that she wanted it to represent her strength and ability to stand tall during her illness and throughout her lifetime. Claudia wanted to show her family her love and devoriton by always having her favorite Steelers flag waving to them, no matter what season it is. Claudia volunteered at the Salvation Army for many years. Her wish was granted this past summer.
"Toss" Weikko Tossavainen, 90, had his wish to enjoy a belated birthday dinner at the Selanne Steak Tavern in Laguna Beach granted, thanks to the Southern California chapter of Twilight Wish Foundation. Tossavainen, a World War II veteran, is Finnish and very proud of his roots. He had hoped to celebrate his 90th birthday on January 11th at the Selanne Steak Tavern which is owned by Teemu Selanne, former NHL star, known as “the Finnish Flash,” but wasn’t able to get there on his own. Tossavainen is the sole caregiver for his wife and having his wish granted meant a great deal to him. Co-chapter directors Crista Sullivan and Kelly Shemonis accompanied Tossavainen and his wife to dinner where they enjoyed a wonderful dinner. Special thanks to the Selanne Steak Tavern for covering the cost of the group's dinner.