With a life expectancy of just six months, Navy Veteran Joseph Teeny reached out to the Dream Foundation’s “Dreams for Veterans” program to fulfill his final dream.

In June 2022, Teeny, from Troutdale, Oregon, enjoyed 10 days in Hawaii creating final and lasting memories with his family, thanks to the Dream Foundation, the only national dream-granting organization for terminally ill adults.

Launched in 2015 to tailor the Dream experience for Veterans and their families, the program acknowledges Veterans. It honors their service by fulfilling their final dream, providing them, their families and caregivers inspiration, comfort and closure at the end of life.

In 2016, the foundation formed a strategic partnership with VA to improve the lives of Veterans with life-limiting illnesses by facilitating positive events and providing motivational support.

Teeny and family enjoying Hawaii, Pearl Harbor

Teeny and family enjoying Hawaii

Connection to Veterans lost at Pearl Harbor

Teeny dreamed of visiting the islands with his wife, Reena, their adult children, Jasmine and Jacob, and their South Korean exchange student, Joy, who they affectionately refer to as their bonus child.

In addition to spending time with his loved ones and celebrating his 25th wedding anniversary with Reena, Teeny dreamed of a visit to the Pearl Harbor National Memorial. He served in the Navy from 1991-1995 as a hospital corpsman and feels deeply connected to his fellow seamen who lost their lives there.

A special tour was arranged by the Dream Foundation and led by David “Duna“ Hodge, a fellow Veteran who is a community relations manager at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

Prior to departure, Karla Azcuy, interim director of the Portland VA, along with Tiffany Knight and Shaun Benson, honored and celebrated Teeny by hosting a Dream Delivery at Teeny’s residence in Troutdale, Oregon.

Oregon Patriot Guard attended send off

Knight and Benson are on the Portland VA Center for Development and Civic Engagement staff.

In addition to presenting Teeny a challenge coin and a Dreams for Veterans pin, Knight and Benson arranged for the participation of the Oregon Patriot Guard, a visit from Troutdale Mayor Randy Lauer, and limousine service to the airport when the family departed on their Dream trip.

After their Dream trip, Teeny said, “We had such a smooth trip. From the Dream delivery to the last day, everyone who helped genuinely wanted to do it. The authentic love we were given was unbelievable. The amazing people involved overdid what we could ask of them.”

By Wesley R. Walls

Communication specialist, VA Center for Development & Civic Engagement

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Published on Aug. 27, 2022

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  1. Jerry f Abbott September 10, 2022 at 10:33 am - Reply

    How Great of and Ideal! Having been a Navy BMCs for 24 Years, I have been in and out of Peral Many Times over my 24 Years of service. It can be very fulling and it will take you to a Place of reembrace and Those Who give all!! BMCS US Navy! May they Rest in Piece; GOD BLISS Them ALL!

  2. Charles Hannert September 1, 2022 at 10:01 pm - Reply

    Happy for him and sad at the same time

  3. CL Parsons August 29, 2022 at 9:30 am - Reply

    Wonderful to see veterans getting something In return for all we sacrificed.

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