Veteran's last wish granted to ride carousel

CLEVELAND - (NEWS 5/CNN) One Northeast Ohio family wanted to give thanks to the doctors and nurses at the Veteran’s Medical Center in Cleveland on this Thanksgiving for helping them grant a dying veteran’s final wish.

Billy Rose, 68, was admitted for the last time on October 16th, battling pancreatic cancer.

Right across the street from the VA hospital, in the Western Reserve Historical Society, sits the old carousel from Euclid Beach Park, which Rose had ridden as a child. All he wanted, his family said, was to get well enough to ride it once again.

So when they got the news that he needed to be transferred from the ICU to hospice care, the family asked doctors and nurses if they could help grant his wish before the move.

In less than half an hour, Billy was bundled up and wheeled across the street, with doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists and oxygen tanks right beside him.

“I think it meant the world to him. I think it did. To me, that was his last wish,” said his wife of 49 years, Bernadette Rose.

The Western Reserve Historical Society granted the family use of the carousel for as long as they wanted.

“The joy in his face, he didn’t even have to say anything,” said daughter Michelle Rose. “I’m thankful my father had that little bit of joy the last moments of his life, before he went to die. So I’m very thankful to the ICU unit, and to the Western Reserve for what they did for him. And there’s nothing we can do that is enough to pay them back for what they gave to my father.”

A spokesperson for the Cleveland VA sent News 5 the following:

“We are honored each and every day to care for our nation’s heroes, especially in their time of need. Our dedicated staff goes above and beyond to provide kind and compassionate care for our Veterans and their families. Often we hear stories of staff working with Veterans, their families and the community to fulfill a Veteran’s last wishes, doing whatever we can to honor their service and sacrifice with our deepest gratitude.”

Billy Ray Rose passed away November 4 and was laid to rest at the Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery for veterans in Rittman.

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