Dream in hand

Attica veteran to visit Fla. family thanks to Dream Foundation, resort

PHOTO BY JACOB GURNEY Seneca County Veterans Service Commission President Skip Craun (right) pins a medal on Air Force veteran Gerald Cupp at Seneca County Veterans Service Office Thursday afternoon. “I present this to you on behalf of a grateful nation,” Craun said during the ceremony.

One local veteran was given an opportunity to realize a dream Thursday afternoon.

Dream Coordinator Elana Nelson of Dream Foundation said Air Force veteran Gerald Cupp, of Attica had dreamed of going to St. Petersburg Beach in Florida to see his family. He lived in Florida for 16 years and liked to collect sea shells on the beach, she said.

Cupp was given a four-night stay at Sirata Beach Resort, which donated the accommodation, and money and round-trip plain tickets from the Dream Foundation for him and his sister, Nelson said.

Seneca County Veterans Service Office Executive Director J.M. “Mac” McAuliffe said his office made the presentation on behalf of the Dream Foundation.

“The Dream Foundation provided him with his dream,” he said.

The Dream Foundation also gave Cupp a hat, T-shirts, a challenge coin and Vietnam veteran lapel pin, he said.

McAuliffe said the Seneca County Veterans Service Office gave him one of its challenge coins and a 50th Vietnam commemorative pin and medal.

Seneca County Commissioners Holly Stacy and Mike Kerschner were among guests at the ceremony, McAuliffe said.

“It’s an honor for my guys to be able to do this,” he said. “Anytime we can do something for a veteran, we try to if we can.”

“I was going to try and do this one way or another, but I’m excited they did this for me,” Cupp said. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing. This could be one of my last chances to visit, so I’m going to enjoy it and see my daughters and grandkids.”

McAuliffe said he believes Cupp is the first Dream Foundation recipient in Seneca County.

Dream Foundation Public Relations Consultant Dani Cordaro said the organization helps to fulfill dreams of terminally ill adults.

Dream Foundation, which was founded in 1994, has fulfilled more than 27,000 dreams — through private donations and corporate sponsorships — and never has turned down a qualified dreamer, she said.

“We are happy to fulfil veterans’ dreams,” Cordaro said. “We always strive to make it very special and we really like to acknowledge and honor those who have served our country.”

For more information, visit www.dream