Allen W., 85, from Marquis Hope Village Assisted Living in Canby, OR, has a lifelong dream of visiting Mt. Rushmore. In 2006, Allen moved to Marquis Hope Village. During this time, Allen met a resident named Betty. Eventually Allen and Betty became boyfriend and girlfriend. Allen and Betty used to watch movies every night together and commonly watched “North by Northwest” by Alfred Hitchcock; a favorite film of Allen’s. In this film, the main character, played by Carey Grant, and his girlfriend vacation to Mt. Rushmore. Allen told Betty if he was to win the lottery he would get a 49 Chevy convertible and drive them to Mt. Rushmore! Unfortunately Betty passed away a couple of years ago. Elle, Recreational Activity Director at Marquis Hope Village, said “Allen wanted to be Betty’s Carey Grant!” and has always dreamed of visiting Mt. Rushmore since he saw ‘North by Northwest’…This is the only thing he wants to do before he dies. He talks about it every day.” Allen was diagnosed with liver cancer about two years ago, and wishes he could visit Mt. Rushmore before it’s too late.
Allen was a captain and paramedic in the Coast Guard for 10 years. Allen served on the Hudson River on a Coast Guard Cutter (a term used by the Coast Guard for its commissioned vessels). During his service, a tanker collided with a ship on the Hudson River. Allen said “they blew up and flames jumped 30-40 feet in the air. I rescued 17 men. I cleaned them up and prevented them from going into shock.” Allen also volunteered with his local church after his service.
Wish of a Lifetime and the Vital Life Foundation were thrilled to send Allen, the Marquis Hope Village Administrator, Marci, and CNA, Courtney, to Mount Rushmore from April 24-26, 2017. Allen and his caregivers spent seven hours exploring the grounds with a tour guide and a photographer. After visiting Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse and museums in the area, Allen went to the restaurant that was in the movie “North by Northwest.” Allen ordered a gimlet, just like Cary Grant in the film! Allen’s aides loved seeing him so joyful, and Allen himself said that he was still in shock that his wish was granted.