Terminally Ill Veteran Gifted Trip to Visit War Memorials in Washington, DC: ‘He Has a Very Big Heart’

A veteran points to a name on the Vietnam War Memorial on Veterans Day on November 11, 201
MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

A terminally ill veteran has been gifted a dream trip to visit the war memorials in Washington, DC, at the end of January.

David Chapman III, of Moultrie, Georgia, suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to the Moultrie Observer. The illness obstructs airflow from the lungs and has forced him to use an oxygen tank to assist his breathing for the past three months.

His lifelong dream has been to visit the war memorials in the nation’s capital, but he is in palliative care and has limited time to make the special trip.

When Chapman’s hospice and palliative care facility told the Dream Foundation of his story and wishes, the organization got to work to organize the trip of a lifetime for him.

The foundation then teamed up with the North Florida — South Georgia Veterans Health System and Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association to help organize the trip. They presented Chapman his gift on Friday morning.

After receiving the gift, Chapman expressed his excitement about the upcoming trip. He then shared with the presenters some memories of his connection to some of the memorials in the nation’s capital.

“The Vietnam Veterans Wall, that’s a mobile wall that’s been traveling America for a lot of years. I’ve been to see it several different times in different parts of the country. I’m looking forward to seeing the real thing,” Chapman said. 

Chapman, who was raised in a foster home in Colorado, is also a minister with a master’s degree in Biblical Studies, according to his sister, Evangeline Patrick. He has served as a chaplain with the Colquitt County Sheriff’s Office.

“He puts out. He has a very big heart, and he’s a very generous man. Even though he tries to act like he doesn’t care, he truly, truly does care,” Patrick told the Observer. “He had a rough life as a little kid so being able to show love is sometimes hard for people, but it’s worth so much. He does well.”

The veteran was initially drafted into the U.S. Army, where he served for six and a half years and was deployed to Korea and Vietnam.

Chapman thanked the Dream Foundation and other organizers for the trip and especially appreciated that he was remembered.

“That’s the worst thing they can do is forget about us. It’s kind of hard to stay at home by yourself. I appreciate everything you guys do,” Chapman said.

Chapman’s trip is being organized by “Dreams for Veterans,” a program of the Dream Foundation, which helps bring inspiration to veterans’ lives by providing them with the fulfillment of a final wish. Since its inception in 2015, the program has served over 1,050 veterans.

You can follow Ethan Letkeman on Twitter at @EthanLetkeman.


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