Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02)

There are all types of organizations in our great country that help others in need; that is one of the trademarks of America – helping those who have less opportunity. We are all familiar with the good folks at the Make-A-Wish Foundation for the remarkable work they do in making dreams come true for children who are terminally ill. But, I was introduced to another organization this past week that is in the wish-granting-business as well, the Twilight Wish Foundation in Bucks County, PA.

The Foundation targets seniors on fixed incomes, who have contributed positively to their communities throughout their life, and honors them by making their heart felt wishes come true. Today, there are more than 33 million people in the United States that are 65 years old or older and unfortunately, ten percent of them live below the poverty level. For some, granting their wish is as simple as supplying a hearing or visual aide, for others it is a once in a lifetime opportunity like taking a hot air balloon ride, and for one of our neighbors in the 2nd Congressional District, Mr. Bruce Hammond, it was coming to Washington, DC to see his country’s tribute to World War II Veterans.

It was more than an honor to welcome this recipient and help make his wish come true – it is one of the best parts of my job serving as your Congressman.  I am partial to the World War II generation, my dad was one of the charter members of the Greatest Generation, and when I get the chance to honor them for the sacrifices they made for our country, I take great pride in doing so.

Mr. Hammond wasn’t always a Texan, but I will cut him some slack since he did get here as fast as he could and still calls Southeast Texas home today. Born July 2, 1926 in Indiana, Hammond was drafted by the U.S. Army at the beginning of his junior year in high school and after completing his basic training at Fort McClellan in Alabama, headed to Germany as a Corporal with the Army’s Field Artillery, Company #535. After the War, he returned stateside and followed the love of his life to Texas where they planted roots and began their family. Mr. Hammond never was able to finish high school, but 60 years later, through another great program honoring our veterans, received his high school diploma from Speedway High School in Speedway, Indiana.

But there was one thing that Mr. Hammond had always dreamed of doing, but thought that is was financially impossible. That’s where the Twilight Wish Foundation came in and through a little coordination granted this American hero’s wish. The last time he was in Washington, was 50 years ago in 1968 for his cousin’s Congressional Medal of Honor Ceremony, but since he lives on a limited income it looked like that would be his last visit.

Last Wednesday as we strolled through the WWII Memorial that honors Mr. Hammond and those who fought in the Great World War, his wish became the 804th wish granted by Twilight Wish Foundation. Over 1800 seniors across the country have had their wishes fulfilled by the Foundation since it was established just four years ago. This is a remarkable organization and I commend them for the difference they make in the lives of those less fortunate, yet far richer in wisdom than any generation that has followed. Mr. Hammond’s service to his county, dedication to his family and community serve as a fine example to the young people in this country – we need more men and women like him.

And that’s just the way it is.