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Dreams fulfilled for senior citizens

By Greg Gelpi

Working as a waitress may be a mundane taxing job for some, but it was a dream come true for Virginia Paschal.

Paschal, who is in her 80s, and two other senior citizens at Jonesboro Nursing & Rehabilitation Center had their wishes fulfilled Thursday by Second Wind Dreams, an organization dedicated to granting wishes of senior citizens.

Members of the Jonesboro High School Super Hero Club, a service organization started by junior Carly Blakely, visited members of the nursing home recently and talked with them about their wishes and dreams, but the residents didn't know that some of these wishes and dreams would come true.

Paschal, who had been a waitress at the Green Hornet in Roswell, hadn't donned the clothes of a waitress in about 30 years, she said. To fulfill her wish, though, Truett's Grill in Morrow gave her a shirt, an apron and an opportunity to wait some tables.

"It's wonderful," she said. "I enjoyed being a waitress. I really did because I loved people."

And her customers loved her as well, Paschal said, adding that they often whistled at her and gave her 50-cent tips.

"Back then 50 cents was a lot of money," Paschal said. "I would love to be a waitress again, but no one would take me."

Second Wind Dreams also granted the wishes of Addie Trasher, who wanted an electric wheelchair, and Louise Jones, who wanted a computer so she could e-mail her children and grandchildren in Alabama and South Carolina.

Jonesboro Nursing & Rehabilitation Center Activity Director Lisa Eppinger described Trasher as small, but active. Trasher, who was known as "heavy foot" when she was still able to drive, had a manual wheelchair and struggled to remain mobile previously, she said.

Members of the Super Hero Club said they were probably more excited than the wish recipients themselves.

"It's just amazing to see their face, their smiles, their happiness," Blakely said.

She and other members of the club, Nadine Boado, Marci Thomson, Amber Calloway and Stephanie Gardiner, were there for the surprise and to share in the wish recipients' happiness.

Cheryl White, the traffic anchor for Fox 5's Good Morning Atlanta, which partnered with Second Wind Dreams to fulfill the dreams, went to the nursing home and began speaking under the guise of simply being a special guest, but soon surprised the residents with news of the wishes coming true.

"The goal is to honor our seniors by making their dreams come true," said P.K. Beville, the founder and chief executive officer of Second Wind Dreams.'

Children have dreams fulfilled and adults can fulfill their own dreams, but senior citizens are "often forgotten," Beville said.