MOULTRIE, Ga. — One terminally ill veteran is receiving his lifelong dream trip to visit war memorials in Washington, D.C.
North Florida — South Georgia Veterans Health System and Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association partnered with the Dream Foundation to deliver the dream package to David Chapman III at his home Friday morning.
Dream Foundation serves terminally ill adults and their families by providing end-of-life Dreams that offer inspiration, comfort and closure, according to Phillip Pitts, a North Florida — South Georgia Veterans Health System specialist and executive assistant.
Chapman is originally from Colorado but has lived in Moultrie for 22 years. He has dedicated his entire life to serving others since his initial drafting in the United States Army. He served in the Army for six and a half years until he was medically discharged. His service included deployments to Korea and Vietnam.
He currently suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to Evan Brown, the Bethany Hospice and Palliative Care of Coastal Georgia volunteer coordinator.
The illness causes obstructed airflow from the lungs and led Chapman to use an oxygen tank for the last three months to assist his breathing.
Brown said Dream Foundation was made aware of Chapman’s Dream through the Bethany Hospice and Palliative Care, where Chapman has been receiving services for the last six months.
Pitts presented the trip package with the help of Artie “Chief” Pearson, the commander of the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association’s Georgia’s 25-5 chapter, with a Dream Foundation challenge coin and pen to Chapman.
Pearson, Michael “Magic Mike” Myers, Joie “Pale Face” Myers and Dewayne “Hammer” Igou attended the event representing the 25-5 Georgia chapter of the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association.
“It is an honor to be able to do this for you today. We hope this Dream gives you an opportunity to find inspiration, comfort and closure, while making special memories. and most of all, have fun.” Pitts said to Chapman. “On behalf of Dream Foundation, thank you. Please accept this coin as an acknowledgment of our gratitude for your service to our country.”
“She says, ‘Dear Mr. Chapman, it is an honor and special occasion for North Florida — South Georgia Veterans Health System’ to recognize your service and sacrifices while serving in the US Army and especially your service during the Vietnam War. Please accept this coin as a small token of our appreciation and heartfelt thanks. Welcome home,’” Pitts read to Chapman.
While accepting the gifts, Chapman shared some memories with the group after the presentations.
“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. “I [was] raised up in some foster care. My foster parents in Colorado told me it’s very special. They’ve been up there. I’ve talked to other people and they [agree]. When they were putting that together I helped raise funds for it and helped raise funds for the... little collection place where they collect all the stuff that is left at the Wall.”
While talking to the veteran groups, Chapman explained the importance of veteran service organizations.
“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,” he said.
Although he endures a heavy illness, Chapman has dedicated his life to volunteering. He completed two marches to raise funds for homeless veterans and food rooms.
“That was a big deal then. I went over the Great Divide three times. Five mountain peaks over 5,000 feet,” he explained. “I [also] did what we call “The Stand Down,” where we got a bunch of different service organizations together to have vets come in and have their needs met. We had a band and food. It was quite a day and night.”
He is also a minister with a master’s degree in Biblical Studies, Evangeline Patrick, Chapman’s sister, told The Observer. He has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and served as a chaplain at 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. 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,” Patrick said through tears.
Chapman is Patrick’s last living brother. They are two out of seven siblings. He will embark on his dream trip at the end of this month.