Naomi Judd made a trip to Manchester, Tenn., on Veteran’s Day to help honor her nursing mentor Althea Cimino during the town’s annual Veteran’s Day ceremony. Judd said she longed to see her old friend and that she “couldn’t wait to get to the phone to say yes” after receiving the offer to participate in the service.
Cimino served as an Army nurse during the Korean War and then worked with Judd in a hospital prior to Judd’s success with The Judds. The women agreed they shared a special bond, and Judd said it was because Cimino showered her with praise when the singer’s own mother never told her she loved her.
“All of these years, I would visualize when I was performing that she was sitting on her couch smiling at me,” Judd told the Tennessean. “And it became this big thing in my mind and in my heart.”
The women kept in touch through Christmas cards over the years and when Judd surprised Cimino, 85, on Monday and presented her with a commemorative sword at the ceremony, they both started crying. “I was overwhelmed,” Cimino said. “My children were out in the audience and they were ducking down so I didn’t see them. I’ve been coming for three years and I just go and sit through it and come home. I was very, very, very surprised.” read more