World Series: "Working for Tickets" Doesn't Apply This Time Around for St. Paul's Resident and Iwo Jima Vet

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Seventy-one years ago, recovering Iwo Jima solider, Bill Madden, turned down free tickets see the Cubs play in the World Series because of the unique strings attached. This time around, he's not missing his opportunity.

Iwo Jima Vet, Bill Madden, won't miss the Cubs in the World Series this time around

"But they (military hospital) put strings on getting those free tickets for a Marine like me. . .including scrubbing and mopping floors if we (wounded vets) wanted to go."

Seventy-one years ago, recovering Iwo Jima soldier Bill Madden turned down free tickets see the Cubs play in the World Series. It wasn’t lack of desire that kept Madden from going, but the unrealistic work requirements that stopped him. As a resident of Saint Joseph Health System St. Paul’s, and a lifelong Cubs fan, Madden is getting that second chance to see the Cubs play in the World Series, thanks to the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes. The Coalition provides emergency financial assistance to America’s combat-wounded veterans. St. Paul’s will host a celebration event prior to Madden’s departure for the game.

In 1945 Madden fought and was wounded in Iwo Jima during WWII, earning a Purple Heart for his sacrifice. In fact, he recalls seeing the flag being raised from the historic scene known today from the famous photograph.

Madden was then sent to a military hospital in Chicago to recover from his injuries the same year the Chicago Cubs last earned a spot in the World Series. As a gesture of thanks, the Cubs organization offered Naval hospital patients tickets to the game. The Naval hospital that held the tickets, however, had a few conditions of their own.

"The chance to go was exciting,” Madden said. “But they (Navy) put strings on getting those tickets for a Marine like me. They told us we had to work, including scrubbing and mopping floors if we wanted to go." So Madden took his chances and turned down the tickets, thinking he lived a mere 90 minutes from Wrigley Field and was sure to see the Cubs in another World Series.

Madden waited and waited for his chance to see the Cubs in the World Series again. A patient man, he wasn’t sure he’d ever see his favorite team play in the series. Last year, the coalition took Madden to his first league championship game when the Cubs were in contention against the New York Mets. The Cubs lost and failed to advance. This Friday, however, Madden will finally get that second chance at seeing his favorite team play when the coalition takes him to Game 3 of the series.

Last summer, Madden got to know the Cubs organization a little better when three South Bend Cubs players lived at St. Paul’s during the season. He, along with his fellow residents, will continue their Cubs baseball fever with a celebration event before Madden departs for Chicago.

St. Paul's Cubs Celebration (St. Paul's resident-only event)
Friday, Oct. 28, 10:30 a.m.
Saint Joseph Health System St. Paul's
3602 S. Ironwood Dr., South Bend, IN
Speakers: Bill Madden, WWII veteran; David Walker, president of the Coalition to Salute America's Heroes; Shari Binkley, executive director of St. Paul’s

About Bill Madden
As a 19-year-old-Marine, Bill watched many of his buddies die around him on the Pacific island of Iwo Jima. But, out of the smoke came a familiar face, his brother Bob. "I really thought I was hallucinating," Bill noted. But it really was his brother and fellow Marine, and a strange place to be reunited.

The battle of Iwo Jima took more than 25,000 American lives, but he and his brother had survived. During the battle Bill was shot in the arm and wrist, which left his ulnar nerve partially paralyzed. Bill recovered from his injuries and went on to become an English teacher for 35 years at both the high school and college levels. He married his high-school sweetheart, Phyllis, and had four children. Now a widower, Bill resides in South Bend, Indiana, at St. Paul's senior living community.

About St. Paul's
Saint Joseph Health System St. Paul’s offers seniors a wellness lifestyle and residences. It serves seniors with independent living apartments, assisted living apartments, memory care apartments and rehabilitation and wellness services. Last summer, it housed three South Bend Cubs players as guests in an effort to bridge generational gaps.

About the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes
The Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes, based in Leesburg, Virginia, has provided an immediate, invaluable lifeline to thousands of America’s wounded veterans since its establishment in 2004. The Coalition is distinguished from other veteran-focused organizations by its direct financial assistance to America’s combat-wounded heroes. Its Emergency Financial Aid program has stopped foreclosure proceedings on veterans’ homes and kept their vehicles from being repossessed. The organization regularly provides gift checks to cover meals, medical and utility bills, clothing, car repairs and even baby diapers.

About Saint Joseph Health System
Saint Joseph Health System (SJHS) is a not-for-profit healthcare system located in North Central Indiana that offers acute-based hospital care and post-acute services including: community wellness, physical rehabilitation, home care, physician clinics, outpatient services, independent and assisted senior living, memory care and affordable senior apartments. SJHS includes: Mishawaka Medical Center; Plymouth Medical Center; Rehabilitation Institute; Outpatient services of the Elm Road Medical Campus; Health Insurance Services; Saint Joseph Physician Network; VNA Home Care; the Senior Living Communities at St. Paul's, Holy Cross and Trinity Tower; and Saint Joseph PACE. SJHS serves more than 200,000 members of the Michiana community annually. SJHS is a Regional Health Ministry of Trinity Health in Livonia, Michigan.

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Jessica Schramski Shirley
Saint Joseph Health System
+1 (574) 261-7767
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