Monroe senior citizen fulfills childhood dream

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By CARRIE FALCONE
Staff Writer

MONROE– As a young child, Nancy Stewart would sit on the beaches of Long Island and wave at the planes and blimps as they flew by, dreaming that one day she would get an opportunity to ride in a blimp as well.

On May 27, Stewart’s lifelong wish came true courtesy of The Twilight Wish Foundation and the MetLife blimp.

The Twilight Wish Foundation is a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to honor and enrich the lives of deserving elders through wish granting celebrations that can reach generations. Through this organization, the Monroe resident earned her chance to ride in the blimp as it soared over central New Jersey from Solberg-Hunterdon Airport in Readington.

“Oh, the ride was just wonderful. It was everything I thought it would be,” Stewart said when asked about her blimp riding experience. “There was no training involved, and it was very well choreographed by 11 crew members on the ground.”

Stewart was also joined by Mary Farrell, director of community relations for the foundation, and the blimp was operated by pilot Terry Dillard.

The event took place four weeks before Stewart’s 90th birthday, which made the day more eventful.

“While this wish was not specifically for Stewart’s birthday, we felt that the timing was just perfect as her birthday was fast approaching,” Farrell said in a statement. “Ms. Stewart is such an interesting, articulate, and amazing woman. You really couldn’t tell that she is 90 years old.”

Throughout the years, Stewart has worked as an English teacher for 20 years in the Monroe school district and continues to stay active in her community by serving as a volunteer usher at several local theaters and as an elder in her local church.

When Stewart was asked as to why she chose to ride in a blimp, Stewart explained that she was inspired by an article she found in AARP Magazine about a woman’s wish to drive across the country. Stewart felt that if the woman in the article wanted to drive across the country, then she wanted to fulfill her goal of riding in a blimp.

Stewart will celebrate her birthday on June 26 by having family members stop by to celebrate.

“I also have grandchildren who will be flying in from Dubai, Australia and Washington, D.C. so it will be a small reunion of sorts,” Stewart said. “And I really want to thank the foundation for making my wish possible. They are a great organization.”