Fairview Manor resident Hubert Johnson gives a smiling “thumbs up” prior to his departure from the Fairmont Army Air Field, as part of the Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation (AADF) “Dream Flights.” Johnson, a U.S. Army veteran, was one of eight veterans from the Fairmont resident home and assisted-living facilty who took part in the flights. The flights took place between 9 a.m. and noon on May 22 and then again in the afternoon.
Leading up to this past Memorial Day weekend, local WWII and Korean War veterans from the communities of Grand Island and Fairmont experienced flights of a lifetime through the Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation (AADF). AADF President Darryl Fisher restored the Foundation’s plane, a 1940s Boeing Stearman (shown, above), with the goal of recognizing veterans living in long-term care communities through providing a memorable experience in flight.
The “Dream Flights” are made possible through sponsors, such as primary sponsor Sport Clips Haircuts, a national sports-themed salon franchise that specializes in hair care for men and boys and has two locations in Lincoln. Through Sport Clips’ support as primary sponsor, AADF will be able to launch approximately 500 to 600 flights across the U.S. by the end of 2015.
Fairview Manor veterans, who were scheduled to make “Dream Flights” included Alfred Krupicka, Coast Guard; Bunny Mikkelsen; Lawrence Nutz, Army; and Stanley Harrison, Army. Also scheduled to make flights from the Fairmont facility were Hubert Johnson, Army; Lynn Hagemeier, Army; Max Shepherd, Army; and Richard Smith, Air Force.
A cook-out for the group also took place in the parking lot for lunch. Fairview Manor staff members tried to arrange the “Dream Flights” last year, but weather conditions did not allow it.
Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation is a non-profit organization established and dedicated to honoring seniors and United States military veterans. The primary focus is on individuals living in long-term care communities. Their mission is to “Give Back To Those Who Have Given”. Through its donors, the Foundation provides Dream Flights in an open-cockpit Boeing Stearman biplane, the same aircraft used to train many military aviators in the late 1930s and early 1940s.