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Vacationers Help Elderly Man With Dementia Catch a Wave on Final Beach Trip

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A group of kind-hearted vacationers helped an elderly man with dementia who wanted to catch a wave one last time.


In the beautiful footage, the group of five men can be seen placing Vernon Hodge on a boogie board before pushing him along atop an oncoming wave, cheering as he ends his ride.

According to his daughter, Rachael Goodloe, Vernon has been diagnosed with FTD, or Tick’s Disease, and Alzheimer’s, which have increasingly taken their toll.

Believing this might be Vernon’s last trip to the beach, his wife Terry – who, along with Vernon, is in her 60s – approached a group who she had spoken to about Vernon’s condition a few days earlier, asking if they would be willing to help him experience the thrill of the ocean once more.

On the beach off Duck, North Carolina, the group – which included Robert Wall, RJ Wall, Ryan Giancola, Brendan Giancola, and Thomas Coppolone – said they would be more than happy to help Vernon boogie board across the waves on July 16. So they began to push him along for the unforgettable experience.

Rachael captured the entire moment on film, and it was later posted on social by Ryan Giancola and a family friend, Erik Swanson, receiving heaps of praise.

Beachgoers help Vernon to surf.
Beachgoers help Vernon to surf (left) and cheer as he rides a wave (right). ©T&T Creative Media

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Erik, from York, Pennsylvania, said: “I can tell you there wasn’t a dry eye on the beach and several families were clapping from what they had just seen.

“Many in our group are in their early twenties and it is so refreshing to see these young people so eager to help make an older person’s wishes come true.

“The expression of joy on that man’s face while he was riding that wave is something I will personally never forget.”

Vernon with his wife Terry.
Vernon with his wife Terry. ©T&T Creative Media

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Rachael, from Gordonsville, Virginia, added: “Our hope with this video is to show there are still amazing humans out there willing to do wonderful things for complete strangers in a world filled with so much negativity. 

“We will be forever grateful for them all.”

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