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Second Wind Dreams grants red Cadillac wish

Photo by Kathy Jefcoats
Joanne Parker, 92, gets ready for her ride of a lifetime, in a red Cadillac convertible provided by the Yaarab Shriners of Atlanta.

Photo by Kathy Jefcoats Joanne Parker, 92, gets ready for her ride of a lifetime, in a red Cadillac convertible provided by the Yaarab Shriners of Atlanta.

By Kathy Jefcoats

kjefcoats@news-daily.com

Joanne Parker was a spitfire in her younger days, wearing her favorite red, and sporting around town in her red Cadillac.

At 92, Parker still dons her red dresses but doesn't get behind the wheel of a Caddy anymore -- until yesterday.

Thanks to the fulfillment of her wish to once again ride in a long, fiery, convertible El Dorado, Parker got into the front passenger seat, wrapped a scarf around her hair and took off for a ride around Clayton County.

"I feel great," Parker said, as she rode off.

The wish was one of two that came true, thanks to volunteers and supporters, through Second Wind Dreams. The non-profit Alpharetta-based organization has been making dreams come true for nursing home and assisted-living residents since 1997. Founder P.K. Beville attended the event at Jonesboro Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

"The elders are our future," said Beville. "We focus on the young, oh, we have to look young, but we need to shift our thinking to our elders."

Beville has worked in geriatrics since 1983. As part of routine mental evaluations, patients are asked to fill in the blank after this question -- "I wish."

"I realized they were such simple wishes, and we've gotta find a way to fulfill those wishes," she said. "And also get the community involved."

The goal is to have the dreams fulfilled from community sponsors, donations and volunteers.

"We teach them to fish, so they can fund their own dreams," said Beville.

Another Jonesboro resident, Mamie Booker, wanted to see a Broadway show at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. Employees organized a bake sale and were able to raise enough money to buy two tickets for her to see "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat."

"I'll probably wear a pantsuit in my favorite color, pink," said Booker, 72. "I wanted to take my niece but she doesn't want to drive in downtown Atlanta. I don't know who I will go with now."

Lisa Eppinger, human resources director for the center, appreciates the efforts of employees and the Yaarab Shriners of Atlanta, which provided the red Cadillac convertible. She said the center welcomes and encourages more community involvement and volunteers.

Eppinger can be reached at (770) 473-4436. For more information on Second Wind Dreams, or to make a donation toward a specific listed dream, access the web site at www.secondwind.org.