Wish of a Lifetime has an exciting way for you to get involved in our mission, and make a tremendous impact on the life of a senior! You can become a “Wish-Granting Volunteer,” by finding and granting a Wish for a deserving senior in your community. It all starts with Becoming a Nominator. Learn more and take the first step today!
Ted Somes, 72, is a generous and patriotic man who currently resides at Lake Port Square in Leesburg, Florida. It is his Wish of a Lifetime is to travel to the small island of Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands to honor his cousin who was killed in battle during WWII. Ted was just a young boy when his 16 year old cousin, Aurthur, lied about his age to enlist in the Marines. After training, his cousin was quickly deployed overseas and stationed on the island of Tarawa. He was killed shortly after arriving in the bloody massacre of the Battle of Tarawa that took place November 20 – 23, 1943 – he was only 18.
Everyone thought his remains had been shipped home, as they had held a funeral in his hometown and a burial ceremony in Arlington Cemetery. However, forty years later three complete skeletons were found in a buried amphibian tractor on the island. Found with them were the boots, watch, helmet liner, and dog tags of one of the soldiers. The etching on the liner read, “Somes, Pfc”. Once the remains were discovered the Department of Defense was informed that Marines were still left on the battleground. They insisted that all American soldiers had been returned to the United States, and a body had already come home with Somes’ name attached. Because no one claimed these remains, they were buried in an unmarked grave on the island, close to the Coastwatchers Memorial.
Now, every year on ANZAC day, Private Somes’ name is mentioned in the prayer that is dedicated to the fallen soldiers. Since Ted has made this discovery about his cousin’s body, he has had the desire to give his cousin a proper burial by paying his respects and playing taps on his cornet. He says it will be a “trip of heartfelt duty.” Ted is a veteran himself as he served in the Coast Guard. Once he was out of the service, he worked building submarines, and later went on to be an aircraft engineer. He primarily designed jet engines. He was actively involved with Habitat for Humanity, and generously donated a house to the cause. He is still very involved with veteran’s groups, and is a member of the Honor Guard where he plays taps for memorial services.
Wish of a Lifetime and Brookdale Senior Living will be sending Ted to Tarawa for ANZAC Day on April 25, 2013. Due to the intense travel and limited flights in and out of Tarawa, he will be gone from April 18 – May 1. He will attend the dawn services of ANZAC Day, visit the historical WWII sites, and of course, spend time at the unmarked grave of his cousin.
Today was ANZAC Day and the ceremony at the Coastwatchers Memorial, which is the main reason I came here.
The rooster woke me up at 4:15am (he was 15 minutes later than usual), and I got ready to meet Kerry, who would be accompanying me. It was still dark when the ceremony started at 6:00, but during the time of it the sun came up to our left and gave a nice reddish glow to the sky. A fitting backdrop to the words being spoken.
It started with all singing “O God, Our Help in Ages Past” led by the Rose of Love singers (nuns from the same convent that made my wreath). The President of Kiribati (pronounced kee ra bus), the High Commissioners from both Australia and New Zealand spoke, and a Lt.Cdr. from the Australian Navy talked about the history of ANZAC Day and its special importance in Tarawa. He spoke quite a bit about the US Marine sacrifice in freeing the country of foreign occupation and that there are still many remains on the island including one who may be under the memorial. There was an Honor Guard provided by the Kiribati Police.
There was wreath laying by all the officials, then 3 Australian children, 3 New Zealand children, and then the public (I was the only public.) ”Last Post” (the equivalent to our “Taps”) was played, raising of the flags from half staff, the National Anthems of Australia, New Zealand, and Kiribati. It closed with “Abide With Me” led as before by the nuns, and a final prayer.
Congressional Medal of Honor winner Alexander Bonnyman’s (awarded posthumously as he was killed at Tarawa) grandson was there that week working with History Flight in the general area where his grandfather died (his remains were never returned to the US). After learning why I was here, he decided to attend as did other members of History Flight. They also were touched by the recognition of the Marine sacrifices here.
After a bit of socializing at the Coastwatchers, many of the attendees went over to the Australian Defence Compound for the Gunfire Breakfast (baked beans Ausie style, egg casserole, sausage, buns, French toast, and coffee laced with rum [typically given to ANZAC troops heading into combat, I was told]). The New Zealand Commissioner came over to our table. We spent quite a bit of time discussing Kiribati’s economic outlook and History Flight’s work on Betio. He has helped Mark Noah immensely in clearing the political hurdles in dealing with the Kiribati bureaucracy
When breakfast was over, Kerry and I went back to the memorial so that she could film me playing”Taps.” I got rather emotional the first time with little warmup and flupped part of it. I did it again, still not as well as I should, but I knew I could do no better while there. The sky was deep blue with white fluffy clouds. As we were walking back to the car, a very light, soft rain started seemingly from nowhere just around the memorial and us. We could see that the street wasn’t getting wet. Kerry told me, “The Kiribati people have a saying that when it rains while the sun is shining, the spirits are crying. Your cousin has heard you.”
This afternoon, I got an invitation from Alison Smith, the Australian Consul, to come over to watch a DVD called “Kiribati and WWII.” It had a great deal of info about how the i-Kiribati were treated by the Japanese, the history of the Coastwatchers, the battle for Tarawa, and the Marine commemoration of the 60th anniversary in 2003. It was very interesting and they had a copy to give to me. A nice souvenir of my trip here.
I’m not sure what Friday will bring, I may help History Flight again if they want a hand, explore some of relics again on Betio, or explore other places back towards the airport.
“My grandmother, she’s not a normal person. She’s like a character when she speaks. Every day she’s playing like she’s an actress.”
These are words of love, and they come from Sacha Goldberger, a French photographer who has turned his grandmother, 93-year-old Frederika Goldberger, into a minor European celebrity.
In the photos, you can see the qualities grandson and grandmother have in common: a wicked sense of humor, an utter lack of pretension and a keen taste for theatricality and the absurd.
This isn’t an ordinary caregiving relationship, not by a long shot. But Sacha, 44 years old and unmarried, is deeply devoted to this spirited older relation who has played the role of Mamika (“my little grandmother,” translated from her native Hungarian) in two of his books and a photography exhibition currently under way in Paris.
As for Frederika, “I like everything that my grandson does,” she said in a recent Skype conversation from her apartment, which also serves as Sacha’s office. “I hate not to do anything. Here, with my grandson, I have the feeling I am doing something.”
Senior Citizen Hits Slopes to Inspire Younger Disabled Vets
This article By Donna Miles from American Forces Press Service shows that even though you may have setbacks in life, they do not have to stop you from challenging yourself and others!”
SNOWMASS VILLAGE, Colo., Bob Eiden is a 74 year old that after 16 months of having his leg amputated started to ski.
“I’m scared to death,” admitted Eiden, an Air Force Korean War veteran who is joining about 400 other disabled veterans for his first National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic. “But I’m going to do this, because I want to be an example for the younger people.”
Eiden broke his leg in two places sliding into home plate during a pickup softball game while he was assigned to Strategic Air Command in Topeka, Kan. That was in 1957, decades before many of the troops he hopes to inspire here were born.
WOL accepts applications for both academic and non-academic internships on a rolling basis and is currently looking for 2013 Summer Interns at our Denver Office. All the info is below or in the Wish Fulfillment Intern Job Description.
Wish of a LifetimeTM (WOL)’s mission is to foster respect and appreciation for seniors by granting life-enriching wishes. At WOL we believe that most seniors have something in their life that they have always wanted to do or experience. However, and for many different reasons, many seniors never get to experience these dreams. We make those wishes come true, contributing to an American cultural change that honors and celebrates the lives of our elders. WOL is a National organization based in Denver, Colorado, started by two-time Olympic Skier and former NFL football player Jeremy Bloom.
Eligibility: The internship program is designed for individuals with the goal of becoming a leader in the non-profit sector. The purpose of the internship program is to help further cultivate their skills through a real-life work experience. Ideal candidates will possess a desire to enact meaningful social change within the community. Participation will provide interns with opportunity to gain skills and experiences such as the ability to organize work, communication skills, fundraising, and an overall understanding of a non-profit organization.
Positions: WOL offers both academic and non-academic internships. Internships provide the opportunity to learn about working in the non-profit sector by working on WOL’s wish fulfillment and/or marketing program. Areas of focus may include:
Call and interview seniors and nominators about Wish submissions
Schedule and coordinate all interested parties for wishes
Solicit, purchase or make necessary arrangements for each wish as assigned
Work with staff to post wishes via social media, web and other avenues.
Disseminate information on wish program and wish events.
Assist with inquiries and requests from regional and national media outlets.
Conduct local outreach to inform organizations and individuals about our Mission and uncover wishes for deserving seniors in the community.
Work to organize fundraising campaigns and activities to support Wishes
Maintaining media asset libraries including wish stories, photographs and video.
Prepare news releases and other media materials for distribution to media outlets.
Ensure that proper permission has been gathered from all sources.
Assist in editing/writing wish stories, Web content, press releases, brochure copy, ad copy, internal & external newsletters (both print and electronic).
Collect and catalog wish stories, photographs, video, art, etc. from a variety of sources, including chapter Web sites and submissions, sponsors, and media
All internships are unpaid
All positions are based in Denver, Colorado
Some flexibility for working offsite
Internships typically run for 12 weeks and are concurrent with the academic schedules of Colorado institutions of higher learning. WOL attempts to be flexible with internship scheduling.
Accommodations will be made for holidays and academic and/or work schedules
Interns are expected to follow the WOL Intern/Volunteer handbook and are responsible for fulfilling the time commitment as noted
Interns are expected to fulfill a minimum of 15-20 hours a week
Interns are responsible for their own transportation, parking and housing
Knowledge of the non-profit sector, either through coursework, volunteerism or employment experience.
Excellent communication skills with the ability to confidently and clearly communicate information verbally and in writing.
The ability to maintain a high level of confidentiality with information that will be obtained in daily interactions.
Proficiency in all MS Office programs with an emphasis on MS Word, Excel, and internet research tools.
Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
Some volunteer experience preferred, although not required
Other duties as assigned
All interns are expected to spend a portion of their time engaged in administrative support to staff and Board of Directors
Please submit a cover letter and resume/work history via email or fax addressed to Cate Scott
Erma S., 89, lives at Regency Oaks in Clearwater, Florida, and she had a lifelong dream to publish a book about her mother’s story of growing up in the Magdalen Islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in Quebec, Canada. The book is especially meaningful to Erma because her mother shared stories of growing up and Erma wrote them down and has kept them all of these years.
Through her geneology tracing to 1654, and with a persistent curiosity and determined will, Erma learned the story and now wants to share it with her family and relatives. She will be proud to leave this legacy.
Erma has raised two children with her husband of almost 60 years. She had a professional life of writing both as a newspaper reporter in Pennsylvania and a local correspondent for newspapers. She has been a volunteer for the Because We Care, a program at Regency Oaks which recycles greeting cards, making them available at a reduced price and using the proceeds from the sales to purchase news books for its library.
Wish of a Lifetime and Brookdale Senior Living made Erma’s Wish a reality by publishing her memoirs and delivering her book to her on March 1, 2013. As Erma sat holding a copy of her book, she expressed that she did not think she would ever see this day…when her book would be printed. Now she has several copies to share with her family members!
We could not be more proud of our founder, Jeremy Bloom, for all that he has accomplished in his lifetime. Especially all that he has done since he stopped playing sports. His article from Entrepreneur Magazine is now online. If you haven’t read it yet here’s a preview. Full story here.
Jeremy Bloom has had his ups and downs. A world-champion skier, he missed his shot atOlympic gold. As an all-American football player, he saw his collegiate career put to a halt by the NCAA; then, sidelined by injuries, he spent a frustratingly brief period with the NFL. He has dabbled in modeling and TV presenting. Now, the golden boy may have finally found his footing, in what once would have seemed an unlikely arena: entrepreneurship.
On Feb. 15, 2006, Jeremy Bloom was, quite literally, on top of the world. Standing at the start of the Olympic freestyle mogul course in Torino, Italy, he tapped his skis in anticipation. The tips bounced over the edge of the hill, vibrating as though anxious to carve up the mountain themselves. Nearby, a television commentator remarked that Bloom’s dream was to win both an Olympic gold medal and a Super Bowl ring. “Let’s see if he can get the first of two right now,” he said.
We get a few new interns in the WOL every semester of school. Since we only get a few months with these amazing students who are kind enough to donate their time, we wanted to find out why they love what they do. Here is intern Lein’s response:
What I enjoy about being an intern at Wish of a Lifetime is that I am able
to make some wishes come true. Just getting the satisfaction to know that I
was able to give back to those who have given back to our generation. I also
enjoying just getting know those individuals and getting to see what they
did in their time as opposed to the current day we live in. It’s has also
given me the opportunity to possible grant an individual’s wish that
otherwise maybe left unknown. Through the uncovering wish process I have
been able to meet some incredible seniors.
Lee F. celebrated her 87th birthday on August 8, 2011. All she asked for her birthday was to spend it with her family in Branford, CT. Lee and her friend Ronnie set off on a weekend trip filled with laughs, adventures, and celebrations. On June 6th, 2011, Leola traveled with Ron to Brentwood New Hampshire and be reunited with her family. On the special trip, Lee was reunited with her sister whom she had not seen in over 80 years!
This past week our whole office went to the Downtown Aquarium in Denver, CO to watch Dick O. get his Wish to snorkel again. Today I asked Jeremy, the Wish Specialist who worked on this Wish, what is was like to finally be a part of Wish he planned.
When I first received Dick’s wish, I thought there was no chance it would ever happen. Dick suffered a stroke many years ago and is paralyzed in the left side of his body. To be honest, the thought of getting Dick in scuba gear and putting him in a tank with sharks in it had me a little nervous. Dick on the other hand, was not nervous at all. He had spent so many years scuba diving and even served as a scuba instructor. He had plenty of stories of past dives and you could tell through the whole process how anxious he was to get back in the water.
In the process of setting this Wish up, we had decided it would be a good thing for our office to attend. We work with such amazing people and grant Wishes all across the country, so everyone was excited to finally experience this firsthand. Dick also invited friends from his community and was able to dive with two of his closest friends. Dick’s son also attended and his cute, 5 year-old granddaughter Mina might have stolen the show from him. Seeing Dick wave at Mina from inside the tank was probably the highlight of the day for me.
Overall, this was such a great experience for everyone. I’m always blown away by what people will do for a good cause. The people at A-1 Scuba Diving were beyond incredible in helping me set this up and helped make the day fun for everyone. You could tell Dick enjoyed every minute and his son said he will be talking about this day forever. It was definitely quite the event.
Harold E. of Lakewood, CO wanted nothing more than to get back to Winterset, IA to visit with his brothers and sisters one last time. Harold is the oldest of 6 siblings who all grew up on their family’s farm in Winterset, IA. After serving in the Army during WWII, Harold and his wife moved to Colorado in 1959 and rarely went back to Iowa. Having gone 25+ years without seeing his brothers and sisters, Harold knew that time was running out on making the trip back to his home town to see them.
On June 13th JBWOL flew Harold out to Winterset, IA where he got to catch up and reminisce with his brothers Lee and Clarence and sisters Donna and Wanda. With the 5 remaining Emersons together again the room was filled with laughter and stories from their past. This amazing veteran had his Wish of a lifetime come true.