"The Honor Flight reunions are very moving," says Char Antoine, Life Enrichment Assistant and Valiant Veterans Program Coordinator at Chandler Place, a senior living community in St. Anthony, Minnesota. As Americans, we know the importance of our military heroes when it comes to our rights and freedoms. But we also recognize that veterans can often go unthanked for their service and sacrifice. "They need to know they are heroes,” says Char. Through her involvement with the Honor Flight Network, Char has experienced firsthand the effect an Honor Flight can have on a veteran as they visit the U.S. war memorials in Washington D.C.
Picture a popular play, presented by actors younger than eight and older than eighty. Fill the audience with their friends, family and the rest of the community and you have the unique learning experience that is an intergenerational theatre program.
“I love him and I don’t want to be lonely,” reflects Linda Walsh-Klein, the wife of memory care day care participant at Villa at Terracina, a memory care community in Florida. “I think I’m selfish because I know that he’s probably going to do just fine. It’s me who will struggle. I’m going to have to learn how to live without him and that’s the hardest thing, I think.”
“I have been with Marcia for over 30 years, being as close as any two people could be,” said Garry Wright, husband of Marcia, a resident at Villa at Terracina in Naples, Florida. “It’s very difficult to suddenly say I am not going to be with you anymore. I think that anybody who puts their loved one into memory care feels guilt regardless of how nice the community is.”
What started off as a service project for gifted students has evolved into so much more. “Originally, it began as a way to share what was happening in the younger generation and show how technology is now helping today’s students learn with seniors. But it actually grew from this original idea. Friendships were built!” says Darla Williams, a teacher at Rose Park Elementary School in Billings, Montana.