Dying Army veteran granted his last Christmas wish in emotional footage: 'Thank you'

Alex Lasker

The dying Christmas wish of a terminally-ill Army veteran who lives in Florida seemed far-fetched until a group of dedicated citizens came together to make it a reality.

The only thing that 76-year-old Albert Septein wanted for his predicted last Christmas on Earth was to make a snow angel, as he used to do during his childhood in Connecticut, WFLA reports.

Sadly, snow is borderline unheard of in balmy Tampa, Fla., where the Vietnam War vet, who is fighting stage 4 melanoma, believed to have been caused by his exposure to Agent Orange during his years in the service, lives. 

Septein's cousin, Joe Maestre, decided he wanted to make his relative's last Christmas a memorable one after learning of his terminal diagnosis. 

"I asked him, What would you like for Christmas?'" Maestre told WTVT. “And he says, 'I want to make a snow angel.' I said, 'Well, you got it, you got it.' And he laughed! He said to me, 'In Tampa? You’re crazy.'"

Crazy as the wish may have sounded to the man who made it, Septein's community still rallied to make it a reality.

Members of the Black Dagger Military Hunt Club Inc, a volunteer-based non-profit group providing outdoor experiences for military veterans, were able to bring a snow machine to Septein's front yard and surprise him with a ton of fresh powder, flattened and ready for him to make his angel. 

In one video of the event, posted on Facebook by Robin Winters, the vet is seen wiping away tears as he first lays eyes on the snow. He then walks toward it, firmly plants his walker in the ground and flops down backward to the tune of cheers and applause from onlookers. 

Maestre said his cousin's reaction was worth every bit of trouble he went through to make his wish come true. 

"I don’t think there's words to explain it," Maestre told WTVT. "The look on his face, the feeling in his heart. The tears that he had. This has been the most wonderful day in the last year."