MARION -- A local veteran, hailed by those around him as a "hero," will see his dream become a reality Friday morning.
Edwin Vega will fly from St. Louis to Washington, D.C. to visit the Vietnam Memorial, leaving his home at the Marion VA Medical Center's CLC in a Hummer stretch limousine provided by Black Diamond Harley-Davidson.
Vega, a Vietnam vet, will be escorted to St. Louis's Lambert International Airport by the Fire and Iron Motorcycle Club, picking up more escorts along the route.
SusAnna Cook, Palliative Care Coordinator at the Marion VAMC, submitted Vega's story to the Dream Foundation. That organization partnered with her program, Honoring Heroes on Hospice, to grant Vega's wish to honor his friend, Joseph Grenevicki, by visiting the memorial.
Vega is credited with saving Grenevicki's life in Vietnam.
"This is one example of successful community partnerships taking place within the VA, and further illustrates the VA's ICARE values," said Jo-Ann Ginsberg, director of the Marion VAMC.
Cook said she is honored to be a part of the team that can help Vega realize a dream.
"He is such a kind, unassuming man," she said. "He's a pleasure to be around. We're so happy we are able to make this happen."
Vega will leave the Marion VAMC Friday morning after a send-off ceremony at 7 a.m. The public is invited to attend the ceremony.