This month, just shy of her 101st birthday, Ruby Holt got to see the ocean for the very first time.
Ruby lives on a farm in rural Tennessee. She has spent most of her 100 years picking cotton and raising her four children, which is a job all on its own. Ruby never had the money or the time needed to visit the ocean, but this month that all changed.
The assisted living center, where Ruby lives, teamed up with an organization that grants wishes for the elderly to send her to the Gulf of Mexico with all-expenses-paid.
Ruby smiled brightly and laughed as the cold water splashed across her feet for the first time. She walked across the pristine white sand with the help of aides who traveled with her. She said she had never seen anything as big as the ocean and kept saying it’s cold over and over, reports The Journal.
“I’ve heard people talk about it and how wonderful it was and wanted to see it, but I never had the opportunity to do so,” Ruby said.
Ruby’s trip was made possible by the teamwork of Brookdale Senior Living Solutions and the Wish of a Lifetime organization. The Wish of a Lifetime program makes wishes come true for senior citizens. The organization says that most elderly men and women have something in their life that they always wanted to do, but never had the opportunity to follow their dream. WOL steps in and creates the opportunity to ensure their dreams can come true. Brookdale is now working closely with WOL to help make more of its residents dreams come true.
Two employees at the Brookdale Senior Living center, Debbie Surgeon and Tracy Marcy, filled out the application for Holt explaining how she had never seen the ocean and wanted to go, reports Aic.com.
“They did a water gun fight out in the courtyard during the summer and water got brought up, the beach, and that’s what she told the girls, that she had never been,” said Mark Davis the executive director of Brookdale.
When Ruby stood in the water for the first time she giggled happily, but tired out pretty quickly. With temperatures just around 50 degrees she sat in her wheelchair wrapped up in a blanket gazing out at the ocean for a bit, before heading back inside.
“We don’t have nothing like this in Giles County,” Ruby said with a smile.