John, 96, of Brookdale Cape Cod is a gracious and kind gentleman who shows early signs of memory loss and dementia. One thing is for sure though – John can recall all of his experiences in WWII. He enjoys spending part of his day reminiscing about his time as a WWII Navy pilot and sharing the most interesting stories of that time with his visiting nephews and fellow Brookdale residents.
At a young age, John was fascinated by the Wright Brothers, which sparked his interest in aviation and began his goal of becoming a pilot. During WWII, John enlisted in the Navy and served as a naval pilot from 1941 to 1945. It has now been more than 70 years since his last interaction with his former planes, and John’s Wish of a Lifetime was to reconnect with his Navy pilot days and see WWII-era planes.
In addition to his service as a Navy pilot, John was an accomplished doctor. At the time he was practicing, not much was known about pediatrics and adolescent care. John was very involved in the research, development, teaching, and training programs for medical-field professionals to practice the caring of children and adolescents in the Boston area. John traveled around to spread his knowledge wherever he could, including the Perkins Schol for the Blind, a Children’s Hospital in Boston, and Northeastern University as the head of the health department taking caring of the college students A hard-worker and devoted community member, John chose not to retire until late into his 70’s. He also started and managed one of the first summer camps for young children in the Cape Cod area.
After a fruitful career and a lifetime of service to others, at 96 years old, John’s memory takes him back to his time as a Navy pilot over 70 years ago. “John takes the greatest pride in his service to our country. His face lights up whenever he talks about his military experience,” explains Pat, the Executive Director at the Brookdale Cape Cod community. Thanks to Wish of a Lifetime, Brookdale, and the Collings Foundation, John was able to see WWII-era planes and reconnect with his Navy pilot days at the Wings of Freedom Tour in Hyannis, MA. About the experience, Pat said, “[John] was thrilled, and I know his wish was granted… this was perfect.”
Photography by: Steve Baty, All Media Productions