70- year-old Art is a Viet Nam Veteran, who completed two and a half tours with the US Army. His Wish of a Lifetime was to participate in a parade where he could proudly represent America by waving an American Flag.
Art was raised by his foster mother, Magdalena, in Ohio and was taught at a young age to serve others. He worked in soup kitchens, helped with numerous campaigns for the Salvation Army, and proudly served his country in the US Army. Art lost his wife in 2003—they never had children of their own. He now resides at Brookdale Bradenton Gardens and continues to serve his community by collecting stuffed animals that he donates to first responders for use when they encounter frightened and vulnerable children during the course of an emergency.
Thanks to Wish Of A Lifetime and Brookdale, Art was able to have the experience that he yearned for all these years. On November 11, 2015, Art, accompanied by his friend Cindy, got to participate in a parade where he proudly represented America by waving the American flag. With coordination from the VFW, of which Art is a member, he was transported in a Jeep donated by a local company for his involvement in the parade. Following the parade, local politicians honored Art publicly during a special ceremony and presented him with a beautiful Viet Nam Veteran 50th anniversary ring. The final aspect of Art’s Wish was to have photographs of the event sent to his foster mother, who encouraged his life of community and military service. Art was happy to have the opportunity to recognize and celebrate other veterans, nurses, and those who were responsible for bringing him and his comrades home from war, and we were happy to make it possible. Art is a man who has dedicated himself to supporting American troops and veterans, and it was our honor to help him fulfill his dream!
Photography: Carmela Blackwell Photography