Veteran in hospice takes "final flight" over Gem County

Posted at 11:13 PM, Sep 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-06 17:55:09-04

A local Army veteran got his "final wish" today while surrounded by his family at Silverhawk Aviation Academy in Caldwell.

"To have him... just so euphoric coming down was beyond description," said Vonni Domme-- daughter to Don Harrison.

86-year-old Harrison says he's always wanted to go on a helicopter ride over his hometown of Emmett.

"It was nothing I've ever felt before, how it took off, and it-- it was like you floated up and floated away," he said.

And thanks to the Dreamcatchers nonprofit organization, he got to do just that.

"It was kind of like the epitome of everything he's ever wanted," said Domme.

The father of nine is currently in hospice care for the third time.  

"He has so many cancers inside of him, and even moving-- just even moving is a struggle to him."

Domme says that her father, sadly, will likely not have the opportunity to graduate from hospice care again. The family is now all the more grateful for the work of Dreamcatchers' Idaho Club, which works closely with Legacy Home and Hospice here in the Treasure Valley, and is actively granting dreams and working to raise donations.

"I just feel we were sent here to help one another, that making a difference is important," said Linda Crawford, volunteer for Dreamcatchers' Idaho Club.

For Harrison, today was pure delight.

"You could tell when he would see something very familiar, or knew really well, cause he would, like, sit up straight," said Jacob More, the pilot, "And ya know, or point at, and say what it is."

And Harrison, who grew up farming in Emmett, said the ride was full of flashbacks from his decades of life there.

"I think that he feels complete. He has a feeling-- a sense of-- completion," said Domme.

And for anyone listening, Harrison has one piece of advice: "Fly in a helicopter while you still can."