Non-profit turns 95-year-old woman's wish to fly to Italy for memorial honoring her late husband a reality
HOUSTON - "He was the handsomest man I had ever seen, and nice had good manners, showed me a good time," said Norma Sue Stephens.
The 95-year-old Stephens had six children with Victor Phelps, a fighter pilot in WWII.
"He had all kinds of medals," Stephens said. "But he was very modest. He didn't really want to talk about it."
"I was very young when he passed away," said Marc Phelps, Victor's grandson. "I'm the only grandchild who got to see him alive."
Victor Phelps died in 1976.
Over the years, his relatives discovered he was a true military hero.
"We started digging, it could be a movie what he did, and the way he came up through the ranks," Phelps said.
"116 missions, was never injured, shot down on his 116th mission," said Stephens.
Victor Phelps spent 100 days as a prisoner of war.
"He survived the death march," Phelps said. "Four guys carried him on a blanket from Italy to Poland. Because if you fell out of the march, they would shoot you."
Thanks to social media, Victor Phelps' relatives discovered there's an annual memorial at the spot where his plane crashed in Italy.
"The first thing we wanted to do was to find a way to get grandmother there," said Phelps.
"Everybody's heard of Make-a-Wish for kids, Twilight Wish is for seniors 65 and over," said William Graff Head of Twilight Wish's Houston Chapter. "They've always wanted something to do something, or maybe they just need something, and Twilight Wish tries to provide those wishes."
The Houston Chapter of Twilight Wish is sending Stephens and her son to Italy. They'll be there on April 29.
"That's the date for when they have the ceremony for when he was shot down," Graff said.
"I'm very honored to get to go tell them I appreciate their idolizing him," Stephens said. "He was a good man."
For more on Twilight Wish, click here to visit their website or visit Norma's Wish page.