Dream Foundation Launches Program to Serve Terminally Ill Veterans’ Final Dreams
Dream Foundation recently launched a new program called Dreams for Veterans, the only national program serving our nation’s military communities by fulfilling a final dream to terminally ill veterans and their families. Members of Congress, representatives of The White House’s Joining Forces program and Dreams for Veterans recipients including Santa Barbara local, 89-year-old leukemia and heart disease patient and U.S. Navy veteran, Ray, attended a Washington D.C. gathering to celebrate.
In soft launch for a year, Dreams for Veterans has already served over 100 dreams to terminally ill veterans and is projected to serve more than 600 within the next few years.
“It is a great honor to be joined today by The White House’s Joining Forces team, Members of Congress and most importantly some of our nation’s bravest who have had their dreams served by the Dreams for Veterans program,” says Dream Foundation Executive Director Kisa Heyer.
U.S. military veteran dreamers to date have served in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, the War in Afghanistan and the Iraq War. “We hope to serve as many as 400 veterans in 2016, and many, many more in the years to follow,” says Heyer. “Our goal is to expand our national presence and outreach efforts and be readily available to every terminally ill veteran in need of a final dream.”
Among the honored guests were those who received dreams from the Dreams for Veterans program, such as:
James (Arizona) passed away June 24, 2015 from terminal adenocarcinoma, one day before he realized his dream of visiting Washington D.C. with his wife and son. He was 55 years old. James served honorably in the U.S. Navy from 1977 – 1981 before retiring as a Disbursing Clerk Second Class. Having served during peacetime, he shared with Dreams for Veterans that his most meaningful memory was pulling out of port and seeing the land disappear. “I always got a charge over that,” he had said. “When I was on watch, I would look out and realize that I was protecting family and loved ones back home.” Senator McCain’s office helped plan a memorable trip for James and his wife and son, including tours of the White House and U.S. Capitol, and visits to historic landmarks around the city—a trip he had to cancel at the last minute because he became unable to travel. As James’ wife Sheri expressed after he died, “My husband was overwhelmed by the Dream Foundation granting him his dream. Even though he didn’t get to go on the trip, it helped to restore his faith in the goodness of people.” James’ wife attended the event on his behalf. (Read more)