Eight Galesburg residents, ranging in age from 68 to 94, will enjoy flights in a 1942 biplane during the 46th National Stearman Fly-In.
The rides — each about 15-20 minutes — will start at 9 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 7, during the 46th annual Fly-In at Galesburg Municipal Airport.
The flights are provided by Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation, a non-profit organization founded by Darryl Fisher in 2011 to honor U.S. military veterans living in long-term care facilities. To date, the foundation has given more than 1,900 Dream Flights to veterans nationwide.
The Stearman was used by the Army Air Corps and Navy as a primary trainer during the World War II era. It produced more military pilots than any other series aircraft ever built.
Those selected for the 15-20 minute flights are:
- Ray Kreig, 94, a resident of Hawthorne Inn. Kreig served in the Army from 1943-1945, achieving the rank of Private First Class. A brother and two sisters also served. “It was a great honor to serve our country and represent my family,” Kreig says.
- Paul Haynes, 93, a resident of Hawthorne Inn. He served in the Army from 1945-1946.
- J.D. Stone, 90, a resident of Seminary Estates. He served in the Army from 1945-46, achieving the rank of Corporal.
- Dennis Stone of Galesburg is a volunteer driver for Seminary Estates, and is the son of J.D. Stone. The younger Stone served in the Army from 1969-71 in Vietnam.
- Raymond Maddox, 86, a resident of Seminary Estates. He served in the Navy for four years during the Korean Conflict, achieving the rank of OM1. Maddox says he has “… a private pilot’s license with Stearman experience”.
- Chuck Basham, 78, a resident of The Kensington. Basham served 29 years in the Illinois National Guard, from September 1956 to June 1985. He achieved the rank of Sergeant First Class E-7.
- Sandy Benson, 70, a resident of The Kensington. Benson says she “… flew multiple times when involved in NASCAR Racing (Winston Cup), and never missed a chance to go to the Stearman Fly-In”.
- Jeanne Murray, 68, a resident of The Kensington. “I’ve worked in three mental hospitals and one prison. Working behind locked doors all my life, ‘breaking out’ is a dream!” she says. “I want to see and experience so many things”, says Murray. “I’ve been on a bus and on trains, but never any kind of airplane. Oh boy, let’s go!”