August 15, 2016 – The next leg of the journey was a glorious two days in Washington DC, a mix of exhilaration split between an uplifting senior living organization and a fascinating city we call our capital. It’s easy to get a bit blasé as to the country we live in and some of the historical landmarks in this city, (at least I do) but seeing these same sites through the eyes and the perspective of a man from another continent my heart swelled with pride simply from being an American.
The way Francis spoke about what he saw: Arlington National Cemetery, including John F. Kennedy’s grave; the Martin Luther King memorial; and virtually every corner with history written all over it. For the first time on the journey we found something Francis would not do, the thought of paddling in a two man kayak with me was too much.
Francis and I enjoyed a fantastic meeting at the national Leading Age headquarters (thanks Mia for setting that up). iN2L has enjoyed our interaction with Leading Age since our inception seventeen years ago. This was a chance for me to meet and see people I’ve known via email for years. Francis as the catalyst was very fitting – our first meeting took place at the IAHSA conference (hard to believe less than a year ago).
The vision and the passion from Integrace from his perspective was just as inspiring as any of the memorials. The organization Jackie Harris and her team have built represents the best in treating individuals with dementia with respect. Francis was fascinated. Thanks to Cindy, Kathleen, Donna and Sarah for showing him your magic!
On Thursday night, a check was presented to Francis from Integrace and local news covered the story of his visit. Maybe the coolest part was the interaction Francis had with several Integrace staff from Africa. These people work graciously for Integrace, but their hearts ache for their loved ones back home. Suddenly, out of nowhere Francis appeared, a man who is actually making things better back home! It was as if Mother Theresa appeared on their doorstep. A fascinating experience to witness.
We had a late night pizza evening with Mary Kemper and Bob Lagoyda from Leading Age followed by Francis’ first trip to a bowling alley! Finally we made a late night stop to pay homage to my father James York, a hero in World War II. We honored his memory with a prayer at the Nebraska pillar of the WWII memorial.
Francis and I will go our separate ways for the next two days. Much thanks to Janice Dabney for choreographing the New York extension of the tour.
The GOATT Project fund is over $5,350 and counting, have you bought your goat yet?