Raymond Parent, 67, of Chartwell Jardins Laviolette in Trois-Rivières, Quebec, is known for being a kind-hearted, courageous senior who dedicates his time to the service of others. Growing up in a loving family, he had great admiration for his father, Fernando, a WWII hero who piloted many different aircraft, but mainly the Halifax Bomber.
Raymond had faced some challenging obstacles that took him a while to restore balance in his life. Losing his father was, in fact, one of the most difficult things he had to overcome. However, focusing on his father’s legacy has helped him find his way back and to be more hopeful about the future, for himself and others.
Because Raymond only started hearing about his father’s war stories in his late thirties, it ignited a deep desire in him to learn as much as possible about those moments, especially Fernando’s flying experience. Often reflecting on his dad wearing his jumpsuit, with his plane behind him, Raymond wished to discover the beauty and strength of a Halifax Bomber up close and to stand in front of the elegant, dutiful plane just like his father did so many years ago. “The Halifax is the biggest, it has everything,” said Raymond. “To see this big plane would be a way to learn more about who my father was, what he experienced.”
Thanks to Chartwell’s partnership with Wish of a Lifetime Canada, the National Air Force Museum of Canada in Trenton, Ontario, opened its doors an hour early to offer a VIP visit to Raymond, his sister and her husband. Carrying their father’s wartime diary with them the entire time, Raymond was honoured by a surprise inside tour of the restored Halifax Bomber – a treat that is usually only reserved for former veterans.
Happily, the experience brought Raymond some closure, reinforcing his positive attitude and connecting him to his personal history – one of courage and perseverance. “From now on, I will picture my father inside this aircraft – where he was sitting, what he was doing,” said Raymond emotionally. “My dream finally came true and I feel closer to him. It’s like closing the book.”