Wish of a Lifetime
Ford Lund's Request: One Last Minnesota Vikings Game
He grew up an orphan on the streets of Duluth, Minnesota. He is an 83 year old Korean War Veteran, a loving father, and a diehard Vikings Football fan.
Ford Lund's incredible sacrifice for this country is characterized by the letter of condemnation he received for his bravery during the Korean War. While in combat, he crossed the front lines and brought back two wounded Greek soldiers who had been hit with mortar shells. He was recognized with letter of commendation for bravery and is one of the only two American soldiers who were able to wear a Greek Army badge on their uniform.
Ford and his family have been fans of the Minnesota Vikings since their first game in 1961. In fact, a Vikings game in 1961 was the first and only Vikings game that he has been to in his entire life. Ford and his family have watched the Vikings play every Sunday for decades, but due to health issues and financial constraints, they have been unable to go to another game. To him and his family, the Minnesota Vikings are more than a sports team, they are a family passion and a recognition of their home state.
Thanks to Wish of a Lifetime and the Minnesota Vikings, Ford's dream to go to another Vikings game became a reality on September 18, 2015, when they flew Ford and his son Tim from Montana to Minnesota for an unforgettable Vikings weekend. What they didn't tell him was that he would also be visiting Winter Park and meeting the team.
I was honored to be invited to be the event photographer and to document the experience for this charming man and his son.
A person's life can be changed by the kindness you show.
Wish of a Lifetime is a non-profit organization whose mission it is to shift the way society views and values our oldest generations by fulfilling seniors’ dreams and sharing their stories to inspire those of all ages.
Seniors are nominated by others and then a team at WOAL go to work to make it happen! To learn more about this great organization, visit their website!
PS. After a day at Winter Park with the Vikings, Ford and his son were guests at the Vikings game against the Detroit Lions. (Ford - you must good luck because Vikings had a grand win at 26-16!)
Update on Ford
Ford passed away a few months after our meeting. Because he left a mark on my heart and gave me an experience I will never forget, I wanted to include his beautiful obituary on this page as a reminder that it is not single monumental experiences that define a life, but instead the life we share with others close to our hearts.
STEVENSVILLE – Ford A. Lund, 83, of Stevensville, passed away peacefully Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, surrounded by his family.
Ford was born July 5, 1932, in Duluth, Minnesota, he grew up by Lake Superior and learned to skate and play hockey. That is where he became one of the Minnesota Vikings No. 1 fans. He met Lorraine E. Robinson and they were married Nov. 1, 1952; they raised six children together. He was drafted into the Korean War and was a decorated war soldier, receiving a commendation for going across enemy lines to bring back two wounded Greek soldiers. He was one of two American soldiers to wear the Greek Army Badge of Honor on his uniform for this brave act.
After the war he became a plumber and worked in Minnesota, Oregon, Washington and Montana, where they settled in Stevensville and the Bitterroot became his home. He was a plumber for years and did many projects around the Bitterroot, Missoula and Flathead valleys.
After he retired he needed something to keep him busy, so he became a greeter at Walmart.
Lorraine died Oct. 1, 2002, and he was lost.
While working at Walmart, he met Rae Bauer and they were married Oct. 18, 2003. Rae was his constant companion for 12 years up until his death. She also brought into his family two daughters, who enjoyed calling him Dad.
Ford was a Cub Scout master and worked with the Eagle Scouts in Washington. He enjoyed planning pranks with his boys to get a raise out of their mom and spent several years going and cheering on the Grizzly football team with his two daughters and many Griz fans. He loved singing while he was working, fishing, camping and sitting around a campfire and drinking strong coffee. He played Santa to many kids in the Bitterroot and Missoula valleys. His favorite thing to do was surprising his grandchildren at school dressed as Santa.
Ford was preceded in death by his wife of 50 years, Lorraine; his brother, Leonard Lund; and his mother, Kate.
He is survived by his wife, Rae of Stevensville; his daughter, Nancy (Rocque) Couvillion of Florence; son, Michael Lund of Joseph, Oregon; son, Jerry (David) Lund-Nixon of Malaga, Spain; son, Thomas Lund of Missoula; daughter, Tammie (David) Edgerton of Missoula; son, Tim Lund of Missoula; stepdaughters, Amy (Josh) Klein of Missoula and Andrea Bauer of South Dakota; sister-in-law, Janet Lund Johnson of Duluth; several grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews; and many friends he called family.
Ford was a loving husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather and uncle. The kind of man who would help you out without being asked.
A special thank you to Wish of a Lifetime for their wonderful organization that make wishes come true for senior citizens, for sending Ford on the trip of his dreams, where he finally got to see his beloved Minnesota Vikings in September 2015. Thank you to his nephews, Dan Lund of Minnesota and Gary Lund of Texas, for making the trip to Minneapolis to see their uncle. It meant the world to him. To Community Medical Center, thank you for your compassion in making him comfortable and your special caring to his grieving family. Nurses are truly sent from heaven.
No services are planned at this time.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in Ford’s name to Wish of a Lifetime, Fox Hollow Animal Project or Hilda’s Room at Community Medical Center. Their contacts can be found through the Internet.
“We will miss you and we love you to the moon and back.”