“We just found this to be a great way to honor someone that has done so much for our country."

By Meghan Overdeep
December 11, 2018

 

The ladies of Phi Mu at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, recently gave 92-year-old Navy veteran Paul Sonnier a night to remember.

Jessica Moreau, a member of Phi Mu, formally known as Phi Mu Fraternity, was introduced to Sonnier through her internship at SouthernCare Hospice Services. "He'd always ask me if I wanted to go to Ropers, the local bar," Moreau told WDAM. "He says I'll teach you how to jitterbug and the Waltz."

One day Sonnier told her that his final wish would be "to dance with a beautiful woman." The fact that he’s completely bedridden didn’t seem to matter to the WWII vet.

Hoping to make that dream come true, Moreau gathered her sisters together to throw Sonnier a dance.

"We as a chapter always like to get involved with the community," Phi Mu chapter President, Cameron Ponder, told WDAM. "Since one of our members is a social work major at the University of Southern Mississippi, we just found this to be a great way to honor someone that has done so much for our country."

On the night of the dance, Sonnier was brought in through ambulance services on a gurney. Samantha Owen, his granddaughter, told WDAM how great it was to see him being himself again.

"We're super grateful, because he hasn't been out of the house in so long," Owen said. "All these 'pretty women' get to come around him. He gets to hand out flowers and just be himself. He hasn't been himself for a while. So, he's super happy."

Sonnier's daughter, Ida Sonnier, told the station that she's happy to see young people appreciate her father and all the sacrifices he has made.

"What we appreciate the most is that our greatest generation member, my father, is happy that this younger generation appreciates everything that he did and sacrificed so they can sit here and have fun and have the freedoms that they have," she said to WDAM.

And while he wished he could physically dance, Sonnier said that simply seeing everyone around him made him feel good.

"It feels good to be with all these beautiful women," he said.

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