Baseball had always been a huge part of Bob’s life—he’d played it, coached it and loved to watch it. So when the opportunity came at age 90 to be granted an Elevated Wish to attend a baseball game with one of his sons, it was a dream come true.
Bob was a resident at Marquis Hope Village, and often when he talked to social services director Tracy Berg, the topic of baseball kept coming up. Realizing that going to a game would bring back happy memories and be physically possible for him, she worked with activity director Courtney Hohensee, the Vital Life Foundation and Wish of a Lifetime from AARP to help make it happen.
Bob’s wife had recently passed away, and Tracy had noticed he’d been discouraged of late. But when she broke the news that he was going to a game, and that his son Larry would be there too, tears of joy came to his eyes. “I feel so very happy and wonderful and glad about seeing my son,” he told her.
“Knowing he got to experience something he loved one more time, with his son next to him, was comforting to all of us.”
On a sunny August afternoon, Bob was in his seat to see the Hillsboro Hops, a Class-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, playing the Eugene Emeralds. He was joined at the game by Larry, Tracy, Courtney and Maria Franz, a Hope Village CNA who had grown especially close to him.
Bob had served in the military, and his tears flowed again as he held his hand over his heart during the national anthem. When the game began, he was riveted to the action, constantly talking about players and strategy to his son, who listened intently to every word. Though Tracy did catch him taking a brief nap, Bob explained, “Well, that inning was a little dull, so I thought I’d rest my eyes.”
On the Monday following the game, Bob was still feeling the excitement, and telling everyone at the facility all about it. His deep joy and obvious appreciation took on extra meaning when he unexpectedly passed away just a few days later. “Knowing he got to experience something he loved one more time, with his son next to him, was comforting to all of us,” said Tracy.
Bob’s experience has resonated with many Hope Village staff members, and has inspired them to look for more ways to make New Chapters dreams or Elevated Wishes come true for others in their care. “Losing someone like him is really hard,” said Tracy, “but knowing we have the opportunity to create experiences like his for our residents is incredibly rewarding.”