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Local student raising funds to send veteran to Pearl Harbor


Briarcrest junior Marianne Agee of Germantown is raising funds to send a World War II veteran in October on an all-expenses paid trip to Pearl Harbor as part of a school service project.

She is doing so in coordination with Forever Young, an organization based in Collierville whose mission is to help fulfill WWII veterans wishes of returning to the places where they once fought.

Agee will raise funds through donations, the sale of t-shirts and a series of bake sales.

“My grandfather, Grady Agee, was a Marine during WWII serving in Washington and Philadelphia before being sent to the Pacific where he was severely wounded by two mortar shells during the Battle of Guam as part of the first wave to invade at Asan Beach,” Agee said. “He was one of the lucky ones. He got to go home after many months, but many of his comrades fell at the next battle, Iwo Jima.

He and I share the same birthday 75 years apart,” she continued. “So, I want to honor him although he is no longer with us.”

Diane Hight, founder and president of Forever Young, pointed out time is of the essence in granting these requests.

“Each day we lose many World War II veterans. Others have health issues that prevent them from traveling. That’s why we have to get these trips completed as soon as possible. Projects like Marianne’s help us make it possible for vets to go back to a place in their lives that profoundly affected them.”

Marianne is the daughter of Mike and Amy Agee.

In May 2006, Diane Hight saw a story in the national news of an elderly woman riding in a race car. Having that experience had always been this lady’s dream.

Her wish was fulfilled by a senior wish organization in Indiana, Never Too Late. “Instantly, I knew this was what I wanted to do. I’ve had a passion for senior citizens my entire life”, said Hight.

With the guidance of Bob Haverstick, president of Never Too Late, Forever Young Senior Wish came to life in Memphis. The name, Forever Young, speaks for itself; no matter the age, a person always feels young at heart.

Forever Young works to change the image of aging and redefine it with self-confidence, respect, and a hopeful life for seniors. “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a hope and a future”, reads Jeremiah 29:11. This verse has become the foundation for the mission.

In October 2009, Forever Young found a huge need in the senior adult community. Many World War II veterans had not seen that National WWII Memorial in Washington D.C. That’s when the missiong of the organization changed to honoring senior veterans. Hundreds of WWII and Korea Veterans have now been honored through trips to D.C., Normandy, and Pearl Harbor. It was then that the organization narrowed its’ mission to senior veterans, and overhauled its’ name to Forever Young Senior Veterans.

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