Former Olympian sends veteran and wife to France to renew their vows

Nadine Bells
Good NewsMay 7, 2012

Russell and Odile Taylor married in Paris on September 15, 1945, at the end of the World War II. Russell, a 25 year old in the Army Signal Corps, had just stormed Normandy's Utah Beach. His young bride, Odile Metzger, was a French interpreter.

They soon moved to the United States where they started a family. They now have seven great-grandchildren.

"Best thing I ever did," Russell said of marrying Odile.

"Odile took the sunshine wherever she went," Russell told PR Newswire. "She has always been happy. That's why I married her."

Russell told NBC that "if he could do anything in the world," he would return to where they married — a trip they couldn't afford.

Now both 94, they recently returned from a 10-day trip to Paris and Normandy, where they renewed their vows — thanks Brookdale Senior Living and former Olympian and NFL player Jeremy Bloom's Wish of a Lifetime project.

See the gallery of their trip here.

"It was very emotional, hard to put into words," Odile said of their renewal ceremony in Normandy.

NBC's The Daily Nightly covered the sweet story:

"We have memories that will be in our hearts forever," Odile said of their trip.

Bloom, a freestyle skier who competed in Salt Lake City in 2002 and Torino in 2006, started Wish of a Lifetime to honour his grandmother. His organization has granted over 400 wishes to seniors since its inception in 2008.

"The Taylors are remarkable. They have a great relationship with one another, and they're funny," Bloom told the Dayton Daily News. "They had an incredible amount of energy; they are 94-years-old and they flew to Paris and were pretty excited!"

"The larger purpose is to create awareness and really a movement that says these people are national treasures," Bloom told NBC.