Non-profit grants 95-year-old Houston woman her wish to visit Italy for memorial honoring her late husband
HOUSTON - We've all heard of Make-A-Wish for kids. Twilight Wish is a national non-profit for seniors 65 and older.
The wish the organization granted for 95-year-old Norma Sue Stephenson is number 5,000 and it's the largest one to date.
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"I've had a lot of sorrow in my life, but I've had an awful lot of good too," said Stephenson. "But this thing is the biggest thing I have ever experienced."
Stephenson had six kids with Victor Phelps, a fighter pilot in WWII. He died in 1976. Victor was shot down on his 116th mission. His plane crashed in a small town near Bologna, Italy.
Every April 29, the town has a memorial for Victor Phelps, who survived the Death March.
"I think my dad gives them a face and a name to put with these allied forces," said Larry Phelps, Victor's son.
"I don't know many 95-year-olds that can make that trip," said Lori Farris, a volunteer with the Houston chapter of Twilight Wish.
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Farris took numerous photos and video of the celebrations honoring Victor Phelps.
"I wasn't expecting anything like what it was," Stephenson said.
"There was a big crowd of people there. They were playing instruments, it almost seemed like something out of a movie, it really did," said Phelps.
"The mayor, city townsmen, everyone on the streets were stopping us talking. We were like celebrities of the town," Farris said. "They were just so happy that all of this history could come together."
"Twilight Wish made this happen. Our family didn't, but it will kind of be a historical highlight for our family from this point on," Phelps said.
Stephenson says it felt like Victor was with her for the once-in-a-lifetime trip.
"I felt very close to him, closer than I have in years," she said. "Been a long time, but I've been waiting for him for a long time."
For more about Twilight Wish, click here.