Wish granted for Exeter woman; 'I knew her heart is into it'

EXETER TWP., Pa. - As life goes on, our dreams, hopes, and wants tend to change. That's what happened to Patricia Ann Lerch of the Elmcroft Senior Living Center in Exeter Township.

"I got sick. I had an aneurysm that burst," Lerch said.

Traumatic health issues prompted Patricia, one of eight siblings, to do some digging into her past.

"Well, I was the only one in the family that couldn't find a birth certificate," she said.

Also, no sign that she'd been baptized. She felt she had to do something.

"Oh my goodness," she shared. "God's not ready for you yet, ya know?"

So Patricia had some help getting in touch with Second Wind Dreams, a nonprofit that helps seniors make their dreams come true. For some, it's a Phillies game or a ride on a motorcycle, but for Pat, it was much more personal.

"She always wanted to be baptized, and she just went through a rough spell being sick," said Lori Skwiat, one of her daughters.

Those at her current home, Elmcroft of Reading, also worked to make the event special.

"We just think it's great she felt secure enough to ask us, could we help her with that, and it was just beautiful," said Fran Burkhart, lifestyle director.

Listening to Pastor David Reinwald entertain at the center one night, the wish wheels began to turn for Pat.

"He's the one I want to baptize me," Lerch said.

The pastor was happy to oblige.

"In this case, it was where your heart is at," Reinwald said. "I could baptize someone in a river, where their heart's not really into it, or I could just pour water on Pat tonight, and I knew her heart is into it."

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