Ukulele serenade honors dying vet

7:44 PM, Jan 13, 2012   |    comments
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TOGUS, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- There was a remarkable moment Friday at the Togus Veterans Hospital. A veteran who's near the end of life got a visit from his friends. And they brought a lot of joy to a place that, in its own way, celebrates life.

Frank Cassidy is a 61-year old Navy veteran and attorney from Machias, who has been battling pancreatic cancer for 14 months. Cassidy is now in the Hospice Unit at Togus, where his wife Katherine is constantly at his side.

Katherine Cassidy called her husband "an incredible man" and says they have shared many wonderful moments during their life together. And among the things they have shared is a love of ukulele music. For the past four years the Cassidy's have been helping the University of Maine Machias Ukulele Club -- a group of about 30 people who play across Maine and in Canada. Frank, she says, had become the club's "roadie", helping them carry and set up equipment at various concerts, even following the group to Nova Scotia.

On Friday, the ukulele players came to Frank.

Six club members, including founder Prof. Gene Nichols, travelled from Machias to Augusta to play at Frank's bedside.

"The club is like a close-knit family", said Nichols, "and you're going to do whatever you can for a member of the family". Katherine Cassidy said when they arranged the visit a week ago, she didn't know if Frank would live long enough to hear them play. "He's been hanging on and hanging on," she says. "Maybe until he hears the ukuleles again."

NEWS CENTER

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