The nation's oldest woman veteran, Lucy Coffey, has dreamed of making one last trip to visit her favorite monuments in Washington, D.C.
Come Friday, she can check that one off her bucket list.
At 108, the longtime San Antonio resident will board a commercial airliner and fly to Washington, where she will see the World War II Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery and the Women's Memorial.
“I want to go, I want to see it,” she said.
Still, this journey almost didn't happen. Veterans' supporters in San Antonio and Austin worked to fly the ailing Coffee, who is on oxygen and frail after suffering a stroke, to Washington without overtaxing her.
Everyone thought things were set late last week when an Austin aviation broker agreed to charter a plane, but the firm dropped its plans because of legal concerns. That didn't stop a pair of retired Marines in Austin and San Antonio from pressing on, and with help from the Texas General Land Office, they struck a deal.
Pending final medical approval, American Airlines will give Coffey and her caregiver free first-class, round-trip tickets to Washington. A tour of the monuments is scheduled to begin Saturday and end with a visit to the White House.
It's possible that Coffey, a sergeant in the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps who holds two Bronze Stars for service in the Pacific, will meet President Barack Obama, but no one is sure about that part of the trip just yet.
Bexar County Veterans Service Officer Queta Marquez said those trying to help her weren't about to give up despite the roller-coaster ride to make it happen.
“I think everybody was determined to make this happen for her, so we're really excited,” said Marquez, a retired Marine officer and a representative of Honor Flight San Antonio de Valero, which helped arrange the trip.