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Wish of a Lifetime from AARP

John’s Return Home

Meet John, a loving patriarch

For 100-year-old veteran John, home is truly where the heart is.

Throughout all the twists and turns in a century of experiences, John has lived his truth: home isn’t one place—it’s the people you love.

It all began in Maysville, MO, where John met his wife Lola, the love of his life, when they were only 12 years old.

As their family grew, they planted their roots in Maysville, surrounded by a tight-knit community that comes with small-town living.

When he enlisted in the Army, John’s path took him away to Basic Training in Kansas and then to Virginia, Arkansas, Texas, and North Carolina, where he served during World War II.

After the war, John and Lola planned to return to Maysville to build a life. But when their infant daughter’s health required a dry climate, they packed everything up and moved the family to Colorado practically overnight.

Together, in Colorado, they made a new, happy home. And they took the 700-mile-long road to Maysville every chance they could to see their loved ones.

Throughout the years, their visits became bittersweet as John faced the losses of his parents and all seven of his siblings.

And six years ago, John faced more heartbreak when his son passed away, followed by the loss of his beloved Lola after being her devoted caregiver for several years.

Grieving these tremendous losses, John found solace in his daughter Darla and lived with her for three years.

However, when his health needs became more prominent, John’s life changed dramatically. He made the necessary but difficult decision to move into a senior living community with more medical support, where Darla visits almost daily.

In a new place, new connections are difficult to make and are affected by his speech and hearing impairments.

In this season of his life, surrounded by new faces, John longed for the feeling of his first home.

When we heard John’s moving story, we knew that with support from individuals like you, we could help him experience the feeling of home once again.

This Memorial Day, he and Darla returned to Maysville, a place infused with John’s meaningful memories made over a lifetime with loved ones.

After their trip, Darla told us: “For the past few years, I could see my dad slipping each week. He was losing memories and losing energy and movement. He came back from this trip rejuvenated, with more energy and more memories than before.”

By donating in honor of this brave centenarian’s wish, you can celebrate individuals like John who dedicated their lives to family and country.

Donate in John’s honor

We need you. You can be the bridge to unbridled hope and joy.

A gift to Wish of a Lifetime in honor of John extends far beyond a donation. It honors John and empowers others like him.

Meet veterans with wishes that need support

In their later years, veterans face barriers to pursuing happiness, including physical and mental health challenges, financial vulnerability, limited social networks, coping with traumatic memories, and more.

Yet, we know the life-changing power of a fulfilled wish! Discover the stories of four veterans and how you can change their lives forever.

Greg wants to pay his respects at the 9/11 Memorial in NYC.

Wish discovery volunteer Barb smiles broadly while standing outside

Carolyn yearns to fulfill a dream from her USAF meteorological career.

Toki hopes to create healing and build legacy by uniting two families.

Roy dreams of exploring his Cherokee heritage with his granddaughters.


Help share John’s incredible story