Don, as a part of the Greatest Generation, did for me in an incredibly large way, so how could I possibly not do for him in even the smallest way?
Don’s lovely wife of 70 years, Rebecca, recently passed away after suffering for many years from the terrible effects of Alzheimer’s. For about the last 3 years Rebecca had to reside at an assisted living Alzheimer’s facility because her condition worsened to the point that Don could no longer care for her at home. Every single day though, Don would drive to that facility to spend time with Rebecca in the small car that he got primarily for that purpose, and he is now in a little bit of a pickle financially as a result of a change in his monthly income, and although he didn’t actually ask for any help, he did mention during casual conversation that he may have to give the car back because of his current predicament.
At 92, he is still a very good and safe driver, and he likes to get out around 0700 every morning for a short drive over to the Snooty Pig for his morning coffee. Often times I will join him, but very few times will he let me pick him up because he would rather drive himself.
For those who don’t already know Don, here is a link to a news story that was done by CBS news anchor Doug Dunbar that tells a little bit more about him. This aired a few years ago after Don returned home from a special trip that took him back to Iwo Jima along with a handful of other survivors from that great battle.
Click to view CBS Interview link
Attached below is also a video of Don, all suited up, when he went to iFly with me just this last month, and he actually ‘flew’ twice on that day! At 92 years of age he was the oldest person iFly has ever had do this, and they were more than just amazed at what they saw because during the ‘pre-flight’ safety briefing in the classroom, the instructor told him that she could not allow him to do it. I was sitting next to Don during all of this, and after she told him that, he looked over at me with a very disappointed and almost sad look on his face, so I raised my hand as high as I could and kindly asked the instructor…..”why?”. She went on to tell me that in order for a person to do this type of simulated free-fall, they would have to push their arms straight out in front of their bodies and raise their hands way above their heads in a spread-eagle fashion for an extended period of time, they must be able to relax, they must be able to comprehend hand signals, etc., etc. Well, as attested by the videos, I was finally able to convince her to let him spread his wings and fly with us. The best part of this is that after those two flights were completed, and while he was being helped out of his suit, you could see that his face now had a big ol’ smile on it that went from ear to ear!
Click to view video of Don indoor Skydiving at 92!
The reason I wanted to share this true story in particular is because, in a similar sense, if Don loses his ability to get out and spread his wings, by having to give his car back to the dealership, it would greatly limit his ability to get out on his own and enjoy life to the fullest, ……while he still can.
The Donations will go the Lein holder of his vehicle and any and all excess directly to Don Graves.
John Swartz and I thank you all in advance, and just know that every little bit counts.
Timothy J. Gutierrez
- Joseph Allison
- Direct Impact Fund
- Brenda Gammon
- Molly Shannon
- Diane Stewart
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