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Tag Archive | "Dream Flight"

Veterans receive dream flights

On August 10, 2018, 11 Senior Neighbors Veterans arrived at the Sparta Miller Airport in Sparta, Michigan where they were given a Dream Flight by the Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation based out of Carson City, Nevada. This would be the second summer that a group of veterans from Senior Neighbors would have the opportunity to fly in a 1942 Stearman Bi Plane.   

“We will continually apply for this opportunity in hopes that every senior veteran member who desires an open cockpit flight in a bi plane can experience this,” said Jane Ringler, coordinator at the Sparta Senior Neighbors. “It is a true highlight of the summer for these Veterans who have given so much to our country in service.”  

Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation is a non-profit organization established and dedicated to seniors and the United States military veterans who have always had a burning desire to soar like eagles.   

“President, founder and pilot, Darryl Fisher, flew all the way to Michigan from Nevada to offer these flights to our local vets. Darryl exemplifies the mission by his gratitude and generosity shown to the vets. Each received a hat signed by Darryl after the flight and a heartfelt thank you and handshake for their past service to our great country,” said Ringler.  “Darryl is a kind man with a volunteer’s heart.” 

Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation has awarded well over 2,000 dream flights all over the country since beginning in 2011.  The oldest vet to take flight was 102 years old.  

The 11 local veterans who received flights were Brian Smith, Air Force E4 Sgt 1975; Eileen Ross Army PFC 1975-76; Dick Burchett Army SP4 1959-61; Gilbert Meyer Navy Seaman 1956-58; Gordy Zielinski Army E5 1968-69; Karl Glass Air Force AIC 1956-60; Mike Mocklegust Navy E3 1976-77; Pat Stray Army Sgt E5 1966-68; Pete Noel Navy E5 1964-69; Stanley Smith Army USMC PFC 1971-1973; and WWII veteran Jim Hoogerhyde Navy S1/C 1943-1945.  

Sparta Senior Neighbors is actively planning other great opportunities for their senior members. Trips, game nights, and parties are scheduled monthly. In September, seniors will be taking flight again, but in a different way this time. First time sky divers will be parachuting from an airplane at over 10,000 feet with an experienced guide, tandem. If you’re a senior who has a dream of sky diving, please contact Jane Ringler from Senior Neighbors at 616-887-1273.  

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Veterans soar with Dream Flight

Four Veterans who are members of the Sparta Senior Neighbors center were offered a Dream Flight. These four courageous men, ranging in age from 74 to 95 years old, took flight on July 11, in a WWII Boeing Stearman Biplane. These planes were used in the 1940s to train pilots during WWII. Back then they were not painted in the pretty bright colors they are today.

It was a gorgeous day. The sky was blue. The veterans agreed that it couldn’t have been a more perfect day to fly in an open cockpit plane.

Lloyd Mitz, age 95 years old, was a Corporal T5 in the 13th Armored. Lloyd was Recon in the WWII Battle of the Bulge. He traveled all over Germany in three different armies during the time he served.  He saved an officer’s life by taking him to a German doctor after being hit with shrapnel.

Jim Hoogerhyde, age 92 years old, was a S1C (AMM) in the Navy during WWII. Jim oversaw the 80 Boeing Stearman Biplanes and directed the pilots in and out of the base. Jim, just a young 18-year-old, was responsible for working in and around dangerous equipment. He remembers a near death experience working on a plane.

Dave Huhn, age 76 years old, was a staff sergeant who flew in the RC130’s in the Air Force during the 1960s. Dave was a Russian linguist and flew 1,000 hours off the coast of Warsaw Pact countries.

Don Zimmerman, age 74 years old, was a SP4 in the Army. Don was a low-pressure boiler operator in the 1960s. He came from a military family with two brothers serving, one in the Air Force and another in the Marines.

Pilot Mike Sommars and his wife Lynn greeted each veteran. Mike is currently an American Airlines pilot. Mike and Lynn give their time to the Ageless Aviation organization, which provides Dream Flights to veterans around the U.S.

Darryl Fisher, who is a pilot out of Washington, founded Ageless Aviation. Darryl had a dream to make a difference in senior citizen’s lives, as they profoundly influenced him during his formative years.

Jane Ringler, coordinator for the Sparta Senior Neighbors, contacted the Miller Sparta Airport requesting flights for the seniors. Airport manager Vic Johnston was helpful in connecting this local senior center with Ageless Aviation.

“Fortunately, Mike and Lynn could make time for our veterans with such short notice,” commented Ringler. “We are so grateful to Vic, the Miller Airport, Mike, Lynn, and everyone at Ageless Aviation. Our vets had a memorable day and were given the royal treatment.”

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