Many of us take for granted the simple ability of being able to enter and exit our own home, but for some it is a struggle.
Due to his age and battle with skin cancer, 98-year-old John Conlee from Mishawaka, Indiana, uses a wheelchair and lives in a local hospice.
Although John would love to spend time outside, because the hospice didn’t have a ramp it took the efforts of multiple people to help him out of the building meaning he rarely spent time outdoors.
This was until a group of army veterans teamed up and volunteered to build Conlee, one of the last surviving World War II heroes in the area, a ramp for his 98th birthday.
Teaming up with SAW’s Ramps of St. Joseph County Indiana, a group whose mission is ‘to serve the community through construction activities’, the veterans built a wooden ramp at the hospice for Conlee who served in the army during WWII in a tank regiment.
When Conlee’s big day arrived, he was wheeled down the ramp and given a salute being greeted by three generations of his family members and the group of veterans.
Conlee’s 43 year old grandson Sean captured the emotional moment on camera:
Speaking exclusively to UNILAD, Sean described how excited his grandad was when he saw the ramp.
That’s because, according to Sean, spending time outdoors with his three dachshund dogs means a lot to John:
Recently my grandpa was diagnosed with skin cancer and he was taking chemotherapy but it made him sick so he stopped and is now under hospice care. The cancer is now spreading to his lungs.
It took multiple people to get him outside the house and now it just takes one person. He can go outside in the fresh air and watch his little dachshund pups run around and my aunt Jackie, who takes care of him, can walk him around the trailer park he lives in.
What a special birthday present!
Wanting to share the moment with the world, Sean shared a photo of John, the veterans and the ramp on Reddit.
Alongside the photo he wrote:
Veterans came and built my Grandpa a new ramp for his 98th Birthday. He is one of the last surviving WWII Vets in our area. Happy 98th Grandpa now you can get outside more.
Reddit users were quick to show their love to the adorable post giving it over 1800 upvotes at time of writing (September 18).
Sean couldn’t believe the attention it got online saying:
I have been on Reddit for four years and this is the most upvotes any post I have done has gotten. It is nice to see the positive response and comments made about my grandpa. I really enjoyed reading the positive comments.
Well your grandad sounds like quite the man Sean so deserves his moment in the spotlight.
Happy birthday John!
Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.