For Marty Walker, watching the Philadelphia Phillies takes him back to childhood. In his family’s home outside of Philadelphia, Marty’s father’s love for the Phillies was contagious. Even at 94 years old, Marty remembers when his mother “had enough” of his father’s obsession. She told Marty’s father he had to watch his games somewhere other than in the living room. Soon after, he enclosed the family’s car port and made it into a TV room – a place where he and Marty could shut out the world.
When Masonic Village Hospice staff heard this beloved story from Marty’s childhood, they knew they had to arrange a trip for Marty to enjoy one last game. The trip was no small effort for the staff, who coordinated everything from medications to wheelchair accessible transportation.
On one September morning, the van was loaded, and Marty was on his way to see his Phillies. The sun shone during the afternoon game, where Marty enjoyed “the best” slice of pepperoni pizza and a cold beer.
“It was wonderful and beautiful,” Marty said. “I never thought I’d get there, but I made it.”
At 19 years old, Marty was shipped to Europe to fight in the Battle of the Bulge. He distinctly remembers the pain of having two nearly frozen legs and the fear of losing them. Marty was hospitalized for seven months due to his injuries. He was later awarded a Purple Heart for his service and sacrifice.
“He was the recipient of countless ‘Thank you for your service, Sir’ greetings from staff and fans,” Kevin Jacoby, hospice social worker (pictured above with Bethann Lizzi, hospice nurse), said. An usher even tracked down and presented Marty with a game ball.
A digital picture frame which flashes memories from the day sits on Marty’s night stand. On the opposite wall hangs a white board with game dates for all of his favorite sports teams, including the Phillies and the Philadelphia Eagles. The dates are written in red and green by Kevin.
“I thank God for the people who help me when I need help,” Marty said. “They couldn’t be nicer.”