WILMINGTON, N.C. (December 2019): Lucas is a World War II history buff interested in the navy, with multiple family members who are veterans. He suffers from autoimmune encephalitis, a condition that causes the body’s immune system to attack healthy brain cells. Kids Wish Network, a children’s charity that grants wishes for kids with life-threatening illnesses, made his dream come true, flying him and his family to Wilmington, North Carolina to tour the historic USS North Carolina battleship.
Lucas’ wish was revealed to him at a Veteran’s Day ceremony at Boonsboro High school, where local American Legion Post 10 Officer Commander Gary Shank told him about the special wish Kids Wish Network had planned. Afterwards, he was honored as a special guest at the Legion’s luncheon, where he spent time with vets including a WWII veteran.
Lucas’ wish meant a lot to him, being a special bonding opportunity with his father who is a veteran of the Gulf War and Operation Desert Storm. Lucas loved touring the USS North Carolina and explored every room of the interior. His favorite part of the tour was seeing the engine room, as his dad was stationed in the engine room of a battleship during his deployment. “We also met service members who talked about their experiences, and it was interesting to learn about everything firsthand,” said Lucas’ mom Laura. “For his wish, he could have asked to meet anyone, but to Lucas our veterans are celebrities.”
The family also took pictures with retired U.S. Navy Captain Terry Bragg, the director of the battleship, learning about its construction, operation, and loadout. They stayed at the nearby Embassy Suites Wilmington Waterfront, having a room with a beautiful view of the Cape Fear River and the battleship. The hotel went above and beyond and gifted Lucas a USS North Carolina ornament for their Christmas tree and a hand drawn picture of the ship. During their trip, the family dined at The George on the Riverwalk and lounged on the beach. “Everything was wonderful and having this memory as a family was beautiful,” said Lucas’ mom.
“We’re honored to give Lucas a wish that further nurtures his love of our nation’s naval history,” said Kids Wish Network Executive Director Tam Lai.
Kids Wish Network would like to thank the following sponsors for making Lucas’ dreams become a reality:
- USS North Carolina
- Boonsboro American Legion
- Embassy Suites Wilmington Waterfront
- The George on the Riverwalk