Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Nonprofit gives ‘Second Wind’ to retired trucker’s dream

Make sure you’ve got your windows rolled up if you’re reading this in the cab because it may get a little dusty in here.

A not-for-profit that aims to help seniors who live in long-term care facilities realize their dreams made a retired Tennessee truck driver’s wish come true, getting him a ride in tractor-trailer.

The retired driver, 72-year-old Ralph Pennycuff, spent 40 years behind the wheel, primarily for Roadway Express, according to a report in the Lebanon Democrat. The paper interviewed Ralph’s wife, Mary Jane, and one of their two sons.

The article notes that Ralph lives in an assisted living facility in Lebanon and suffers from dementia. Last week, he got to take a short ride around town as part of a program that’s like Make-A-Wish for silver-haired folks.

The nonprofit, Second Wind Dreams, was founded in 1997 in Marietta, Ga. The organization’s stated goal is to change the perception of aging by fulfilling the dreams of those living in elder care communities, thereby enhancing their lives and changing society’s perception of older Americans. Second Wind Dreams offers four different categories in its “Dreams Program” including one called “Reliving Past Experiences,” which is the most common form of dream fulfillment for elders like Pennycuff who suffer from dementia.

Mary Jane Pennycuff told the local paper that although her husband was “a man of few words,” he appreciated the attention and effort to get him back in the cab to relive a bit of his past career, one he enjoyed.

“He loved his job, he loved trucking,” she said.