The Dream Foundation is the only national dream-granting organization for adults. In 2014, the Dream Foundation added a new program called, Dreams for Veterans. Its mission is to serve those who have served by giving back to terminally ill veterans and their families through the fulfillment of a final dream. This isn’t the first time Dream Foundation has honored veterans. Throughout Dream Foundation’s 21-year history, they have served about 600 veterans. To date, the Dream for Veterans program has served dreams to more than 100 terminally ill adults.
On September 17, 2015, the Dream Foundation publicly launched the program in Washington, D.C., where Member of Congress, representatives of The White House’s Joining Forces program and Dreams for Veterans recipients and their families were in attendance. The idea of Dreams for Veterans is to give back to terminally ill veterans and their families through fulfilling a final dream to them. The goal is to serve at least 400 veterans in 2016.
In 2011, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden launched a program called Joining Forces. The Executive Director of The White House’s Joining Forces program, U.S. Air Force Col. Nicole Malachowski, attended the Dreams for Veterans program and shared remarks from a letter of support from the First Lady which stated, “As First Lady, one of my core missions is ensuring our service members, veterans, and their families have the support they have earned when they hang up their uniforms. That is why I am so proud of the incredible work the Dream Foundation has done – and will continue to do – on behalf of those who served in our Nation’s armed forces.”
A few Dreamers’ Stories
- Ray (California) – Ray West is an 89-year old leukemia and heart disease patient, and a U.S. Navy Veteran who served from 1944 – 1946. His title was Seaman 3rd Class, Ships Mate. The Dreams for Veterans program recently granted his dream of taking a trip to the Yosemite Valley with his family. In May of 2015, Ray along with his wife, son and daughter-in-law, stayed in a cabin at the Ahwahnee Hotel with meals provided. Ray’s wife, Jean West, said “Of course, we love Yosemite and we could not have afforded to go there on our own. It was just a funny thing. A real moving thing.” The Dream Foundation also sent Ray and his son to Washington, D.C., so he could participate in the official launch of the Dream for Veterans program.
- Randy (Ohio) – Randy had his dream granted on October 21, 2014. His dream was to attend a Pittsburgh Steelers game, as he was an avid fan. Over the years, he had attended a few home games, but with his cancer progressively getting worse and putting a financial strain on his family, he had been unable to attend a home game for a long time. The fall before Randy succumbed to his cancer, he reached out to Dreams for Veterans for help getting to Heinz Field and watching his favorite team from the sidelines. His dream was granted and Randy and his family attended the game. He wrote to Dreams for Veterans after the game saying, “It was absolutely fabulous. It meant so much to us. The weather was beautiful; everything was perfect. We made amazing memories.”
These are just a few of the hundreds of veterans that have been granted dreams by the Dream Foundation. For more information on how to help support this foundation visit their website at www.dreamfoundation.org. If you are interested in participating in honoring and acknowledging a veteran dream recipient in your area, you can submit a Dreams for Veterans information request form on their website.