USS Dallas Hosts Make-A-Wish Teenager
GROTON, Conn. (NNS) -- USS Dallas (SSN 700) Commanding Officer Cmdr. Jack Houdeshell hosted a 12-year old teenager participating in the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and his mother, during a tour aboard the Los Angeles-class submarine in Groton June 19.
Fabian Martinez, of Texas, and his family had submitted his wish through Make-A-Wish to one day attend a PGA golf tournament and meet professional golfers.
Birdies for the Brave, a national military outreach initiative supported by the PGA TOUR, requested a tour of a submarine through Commander, Submarine Group 2 while Fabian and his family were attending this week's Travelers Championship.
Fabian's mother, Cathy Silguero, emphasized the importance of this visit and the long-lasting impact it will have on her son, who has osteosarcoma, a cancerous bone tumor.
"It means everything to him and this will make up for the things he won't be able to do in the future," said Silguero.
Prior to the tour aboard USS Dallas, Fabian received a surprise "promotion" when Commander, Submarine Group 2 Chief of Staff Capt. Mike Bernacchi pinned his aiguillette to the honorary submariner's sleeve.
Houdeshell, who looked on during the "promotion" added his crew was honored to provide Fabian and his mother a tour. "It was a great opportunity to support the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Fabian's wish," said Houdeshell.
Chief Machinist's Mate (SS) Michael Riegert, who serves aboard USS Dallas, volunteered to assist with the tour for personal reasons. His wife at the age of 14 was enrolled in Make-A-Wish.
"It meant a lot for her and her family to have her wish granted at the time," said Riegert, who said because of his wife's experience he donates to Make-A-Wish through the Combined Federal Campaign.
Six-time PGA TOUR champion Rory Sabbatini and his wife Amy accompanied Fabian and his mother on the tour aboard USS Dallas.
According to Make-A-Wish's website, the organization grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Founded in 1980, Make-A-Wish is now the largest wish-granting charity in the world. Make-A-Wish has granted more than 280,000 wishes around the world since its inception.