When 95-Year-old WWII veteran Johnnie Dimas lost his full-time caregiver and wife of 67 years, there didn’t seem to be many options, other than to move out of his house and into a nursing home.
But, he and his late wife had always vowed that they would never go into a home—so his grandson Roger Gilbert devised a plan. He moved his 95-Year-old WWII Veteran Johnnie from Illinois to live with Roger and his wife Jo, in Sedona, Arizona two years ago.
And, last October they decided to embark on an epic journey around the USA in their motor home, visiting all of the places on their grandfather’s bucket list.
Knowing that time was limited, the unlikely trio explored and experienced as much as they could together—from Mardi Gras to Las Vegas, to an encounter with a camel named Roger at a dairy farm on the Mexican border, where he was completely enamored with the animal.
Most importantly, they got to visit several World War II museums where Johnnie was “treated like a rock star.” He was also fortunate enough to meet a fellow WWII vet there.
I think it was deeply cathartic for Grandpa to be able to process everything that had happened at such a young age.Jo
Johnnie enlisted in the U.S. Marines at the age of 17—and due to his young age, his father had to sign him up. He served in Guam where he was wounded and was sent back to the States to recover in a V.A. hospital. He had severe PTSD and was treated with electric shock therapy—until he “witnessed a friend and fellow soldier being carried out on a stretcher.” Afterward, he discharged himself from the hospital and went home.
Before loading his wheelchair into the motorhome for their trip, they dubbed their vehicle the ‘Sweet Mary Bus,’ for Johnnie’s late wife.