A woman with a big heart has helped three nonagenarian veteran fellow pilots set out on the journey of their dreams as “last hurray” boys, at no cost to them.
Julie Pflaumer got a call from veteran and former pilot Jack Henderson to help him and two friends, also veterans and pilots, go to the Reno Air Races in Nevada.
Jack, 90, was calling from an Oregon assisted living facility, where he became best friends with David Crawford and Dick Snider.
“They were ex-pilots too, so we got together pretty quickly,” said Jack, who served in the Navy as a Petty Officer First Class (PO1) and later became a civilian pilot.
David, 93, a radio operator in the Navy before becoming a civilian, and Dick, 90, who served in the United States Army before getting his wings, do everything together.
But when travel agent Julie did some research on the tickets, she found that they wouldn’t be available until later in the year, which instantly saddened Jack, who thought, “Well, it might not even be available when they are available. “
Julie decided that she had to find another option for friends. Then he came up with something: AeroLegengs Biplane Rides offers biplane experiences in the city where the three friends live. I could give them a day in heaven, for free, of course.
Julie posted her idea to a group of travel agents on Facebook. Donations soon began to pour in, raising more than $ 1,100, well in excess of the $ 600 needed to carry the three men.
“I don’t deserve all the credit here, this was just an idea on my part and the only reason it became what it was was because everyone contributed,” Julie said.
When the ex-pilots received their gift certificates for the biplane tour in March, “Most of us had to change our pants,” Jack joked. “It was such an unexpected and pleasant surprise.”
Julie learned that Dick had planned to fly with the company earlier, to scatter his late wife’s ashes, but hadn’t done so yet. Now he had the chance.
“I’d like to think his wife is in heaven saying ‘Come on honey let’s get the show going,'” Julie added.
Julie said being the catalyst for this good deed has reminded her why she became a travel agent four years ago.
“The most important thing for me is to be able to bring that happiness to people of being able to do something they didn’t think they could do,” he said. That is a really beautiful feeling.
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