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Surrounded by family, terminally-ill Marine turns 80

Dreams for Veterans | In the News | May 16, 2017

Dianne McDanell wanted to make her husband Chuck’s birthday something special. She had no idea everything would come together to make the day absolutely memorable.

What started as a hog roast with some close family turned into celebration of Chuck’s service in the United States Marine Corps, while also showcasing his love for classic cars.

Chuck served in the United States Marines from October 1954 to October 1957. He just missed the Korean War and spent his tour in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Corporal McDanell was a radio operator for a tank outfit and left the Corps as a rifle range advisor.

Chuck’s celebration included live music, a catered BBQ meal and a car show with two different clubs participating. The highlight of the day was when the Middletown American Legion Honor Guard presented Chuck with a three-volley salute and performed the National Anthem and the Marine Hymn.

“This just turned into something much bigger than we ever expected,” Dianne said with a laugh.

Chuck is a home hospice client. When Dianne mentioned to his hospice providers that she wanted to celebrate his birthday in style, they put her in touch with Dream Foundation, an organization based in California.

The Dream Foundation is similar to the Make A Wish Foundation, providing support and compassion for terminally-ill Dream recipients. Dream Foundation’s “Dreams for Veterans” program is designed to help veterans and their families.

Diane said the Dream Foundation helped cover the costs of a large event tent and other facilities to accommodate the 100 guests that visited the McDanell home Saturday.

“We didn’t expect all this stuff,” Dianne said. “They’ve been fantastic.”

Dreams for Veterans reached out to Middletown American Legion Post #216 and made sure that Chuck got more than just cake for his birthday.