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TUCSON, Arizona (Feb. 16, 2023) – U.S. Army veteran Ronnie Olivas hates making promises to his kids that go unfulfilled, even when it’s because of his own medical setbacks.
Hope For The Warriors and its Warrior’s Wish program recently made sure Olivas would not have to disappoint his three boys again about a promised trip to Disneyland.
“My wish was to take my wife and my three boys to Disneyland,” he shared.
“I’ve been telling them for a few years when I get better, we would go, but I believe that time is running out for me. I can’t afford the vacation; we are barely making it. It saddens me because every year they ask ‘are we going this year’ and I have to say ‘no, next year’.”
Olivas is a 15-year veteran of the U.S. Army and sufferers from advanced stage cirrhosis of the liver caused by exposure to burn pits. Thanks to Hope For The Warriors and its Warrior’s Wish program, the Olivas family recently enjoyed a family vacation in California.
The trip included two days and three nights at Disneyland in California, a day trip to Knotts Berry Farm, a day trip to Sea World, and lodging at Homewood Suites by Hilton. The cost of the vacation, which also included a Lightning Genie Pass at Disney, was over $6,500.
“When we found we had been selected it was like a dream come true to give my family a trip of a lifetime,” said Olivas, whose sons are four, seven, and eight years old. “We were very happy and the boys looked at us with pride in their eyes talking about when they get back to school to show everybody the pictures and toys and shirts. It was great. I felt like a man again.”
Olivas said his wife and young boys have been dutiful about watching over him as his condition has worsened.
“I have been sick a lot and my family has stepped up to help me. I am never left alone; my wife does everything for me. My boys check on me every chance they can. They bring me water or wake me up to see if I’m OK,” said Olivas.
“Whenever I wake up, the boys are on the floor playing and monitoring me. My family has been so great to me. I make every effort to do for them, but they know it’s so hard for me.”
“Helping families connect is critical to all of us at HOPE and the Olivas are such a special, close, loving family. They all pitch in and work together to care for Ronnie,” said Robin Kelleher, co-founder and CEO of Hope For The Warriors. “It is such an honor for HOPE and the Warrior’s Wish program to fulfill this wish and help the Olivas experience such a special trip together.”
Olivas enlisted in September of 1988 and deployed to Japan and Korea with the 25th Infantry. He re-enlisted and was assigned to the 101st Airborne Until 1-187th Infantry. He left the military in 1993, but returned to service in 2003 as a 15R Apache Crew Chief and deployed to Afghanistan. He retired from the military in 2013.
Since 2006, Hope For The Warriors has provided almost $2.5 million in grants, assisting with 251 wishes.
For more information on Hope For The Warriors and Warrior’s Wish program, visit hopeforthewarriors.org, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
About Hope For The Warriors: Founded in 2006, Hope For The Warriors is a national nonprofit dedicated to restoring a sense of self, family and hope for post-9/11 veterans, service members and military families. Since its inception, Hope For The Warriors has served over 40,000 through a variety of support programs focused on health and wellness, sports and recreation and transition. One of the nonprofit’s first programs, Military Spouse and Caregiver Scholarships, has awarded 212 scholarships to caregivers and families of the fallen. For more information, visit hopeforthewarriors.org, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.