It's never too late to make a dream come true, especially with the support of family, friends, and community
Ona F. Smith, Air Force Veteran, is currently receiving hospice care on CLC 2 in Bath. Ona frequently reminisces about his time in the service, more so his special memories of racing his motorcycle when he was stationed in Japan. Ona is no longer able to ride his motorcycle and misses the sensation of freedom, and the surge of adrenaline.
When Ona's daughter, Dawn Smith, heard about her dad's wishes, she quickly acted. The word of her dad's dream started spreading throughout the VA community, and everyone took action to make her dad's last wish a reality. Bath VA Fire Chief Jimmy Webster heard about Ona’s request and called upon a friend, Allen Coots.
Allen’s father Denny was also a Veteran, a motorcycle enthusiast, and a quadriplegic. Allen would often take his father for rides in an adaptive sidecar that allowed him to get out, and on the open road. Denny has since passed, but the sidecar remains. When the Coots family heard about Ona’s wish, a whole team of people rallied to make his dream a reality.
Chief Webster, VA Firefighter & Paramedic Mike Cornish, and their team of friends decided to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and ride along with Ona, and the Coots family. Not only did Ona, get to go on his ride, but he was also able to end it with a clam bake, as this is also an event Ona loved to attend in his younger years.
The clam bake was held at the home of Bath VA Mobility Transportation Specialist, Kelly Strzepek. Kelly worked with the Smith family and held a clam bake at her home for the Veteran and the entire motorcycle crew. VA Social worker Andrew Scardina prepared the clams and the Bath American Legion donated macaroni salad and beans.
Ona Smith stated he had the best day. During the ride Ona would close his eyes, and again experience the feelings he had while racing, envisioning himself on the streets of Japan. Ona stated the food and friends were the best he has had, and he was appreciative of everyone involved.
Ona’s daughter, Dawn Smith has gifted this team with the name The Hospice Hogs.
The Coots family felt honored and privileged to be part of this experience. Sabrina Elliot, (Denny Coot’s daughter), stated she felt like her dad was watching down on them, enjoying the experience, and happy to make Ona’s dream come true.
Thank you to everyone involved.
Sabrina Elliot and her family
Bath VA Mobility Transportation Specialist Kelly Strzepek
Bath VA Fire Chief Webster
Bath VA Firefighter & Paramedic Mike Cornish
The Hospice Hogs
Bath VA Social Worker, Andrew Scardina
Bath American Legion
"Unity is strength ... when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved." – Mattie Stepanek
In loving Memory of Dennis Coots, 1955-2021