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Positively Cincinnati: Mercy Health workers exchange Christmas gifts with 101-year-old WWII veteran

Posted at 6:46 PM, Dec 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-18 20:09:24-05

We live in a world so busy that we spend every day silently passing by people with incredible stories to share, never knowing how much we could have learned from them.

That’s why I love today’s “Positively Cincinnati.” It’s about World War II Army veteran Charlie Dawson and two people who took the time to listen.

The 101-year-old went for a medical appointment at Mercy Health’s Clermont Hospital. When he began talking about his military past, including his D-Day service in Normandy, CT techs Liz Hardman and Amy Paproski started a conversation. In addition to his veteran status, they learned he’s a crafter — a wood worker.

As they talked, Charlie learned his new friends could use the bird houses he makes. He made sure they each got one. In a lovely kind of reciprocity, Hardman and Paproski shared a favorite craft of theirs with Charlie: Thumbprint ornaments.

They still visit and keep the conversation going.

“He makes me realize how lucky I am today for the things he did back then," Hardman told us. "And I think we keep a twinkle in his eye by having people come and do fun things that he enjoys.”

I asked her what the story’s lesson in friendship is.

“Just to always be open to people," she said without hesitating. "Everyone has a story. We should listen to them.”