A veteran, firefighter, and teacher. For Donald Silliphant, there are few things more important than fighting for the people around him.
Donald began his career in the Army in 1962, serving as a paratrooper in the Vietnam War. After his military career, he became a firefighter and worked for more than 20 years, until he suffered an injury falling through a roof while fighting a fire. But his goal of giving back to his community didn’t end there. He switched careers and became a high school teacher for the next 16 years, coaching students in sports and creating a positive culture for young people going through tough times. At age 63, Donald was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Despite the challenges of his diagnosis, his dedication to service never faltered.
Donald served as a paratrooper during the Vietnam War.
As a lifelong sports enthusiast, Donald has always believed in the power of sports in bringing people together. From a young age, he dreamed of looking at the world from the Goodyear Blimp he would see floating in the sky during his favorite sporting matches.
This is where Wish of a Lifetime stepped in. After hearing Donald’s story, Wish of a Lifetime invited him to fly in the Goodyear Blimp and get a 360-degree glimpse of Southern California. Donald was ecstatic to hear about this once in a lifetime opportunity and was even further surprised when he was greeted by countless AARP California volunteers cheering him on as he embarked on his adventure.
AARP California volunteers cheered Donald on as he got to fulfill his wish.
Taking in the view from the air, Donald fondly remembered his days as a paratrooper. He commented, “I was really kind of stunned. It was so much more than I anticipated. It is going to stay with me for a long time.”
Donald continued. "Sometimes it takes a second look at life to know what things mean or represent,” he said. “Getting a birds-eye view of my world and everyone in it that makes my life easier was invigorating and left me feeling hopeful.”
Want to help fulfill someone’s lifelong wish? Visit https://wishofalifetime.org/ to learn more about Wish of a Lifetime and how you can make a submission.
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