SHIP BOTTOM, New Jersey - Seventy-eight-year-old Pat Kelly of Burlington City, New Jersey, is in hospice care with a terminal diagnosis of acute leukemia. When her family asked her about what she'd like to do before she goes, she didn't hesitate.
"I said, 'Go to the shore,'" she said.
Her family knew she wouldn't be able to get down to the beach herself, and asked the Ship Bottom Police Department for help. Enter Officer Ron Holloway.
"Being able to take her out for this ride on the beach, it was definitely a life-moving experience," Holloway said. "It was a check mark in my career."
During a weekend trip to Long Beach Island, Holloway drove Kelly to the water's edge one last time.
"Oh they could have taken me right then, and I would have been the happiest person," she said. "That I could be there one last time in the ocean and the sand, and that was my hurrah."
That last hurrah included a moment with her granddaughters looking at the water, a group hug with family and old friends, and a prayer circle that Holloway joined.
"It was just like he was part of our family," Kelly added.
"A man who had such heartfelt connection with a bunch of strangers," Kelly's daughter-in-law Stephanie Corbin said. "He went beyond protecting and serving because of his heart."
Pat's time is now measured in months, perhaps weeks, though no one is really sure. But being able to say goodbye to the shore she loves so dearly, where she spent so many summers, gives her
"It was a blessing," daughter-in-law Tiffany Kelly said. "Not many people get to live out their last wishes and she did."
After her death, she hopes to return to the shore once more, to have her ashes spread.
"That's my place," she said. "I'll be there forever. Just watch out - some people might step on me."