A big-hearted woman has helped three nonagenarian veteran pilot chums go on their dream “last hurrah” boys’ trip—without costing them a dime.
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.
90-year-old Jack was calling from an Oregon assisted living facility, where he’s become best buddies with David Crawford and Dick Snider.
“They happened to be former pilots too, so we got together rather quickly,” said Jack, who served in the Navy as a Petty officer first class (PO1) and later became a civilian pilot.
93-year-old David—a radio operator in the Navy before becoming a civilian—and 90-year-old Dick, who served in the US Army before getting his wings, do everything together.
But when travel agent Julie did some research on tickets, she found they wouldn’t be available until later in the year, which instantly saddened Jack, who thought, “Well, I might not even be around by the time they’re available.”
Julie decided that she had to find another option for the buddies. Then she hit on something: AeroLegengs Biplane Rides offers bi-plane experiences in the town where the three pals live. She could give them a day up in the skies, for free of course.
Julie posted her idea in a travel agents group on Facebook. Donations soon began pouring in, raising over $1,100—well over the $600 needed to fly all three men up.
“I don’t deserve all the credit here, this was merely an idea on my part and the only reason it turned into what it was was because everybody chipped in,” Julie said.
Whe the former pilots were given their gift certificates for the bi-plane excursion this March, “Most of us had to go change our britches,” Jack joked. “It was such an unexpected, pleasant surprise.”
Julie learned that Dick had actually planned on flying with the company before—to spread his late wife’s ashes—but hadn’t got around to it yet. Now he had the chance.
“I’d like to think his wife is up in heaven saying ‘Come on honey let’s get the show on the road’,” added Julie.
Julie said being the catalyst for this good deed has reminded her why she became a travel agent four years ago.
“The biggest thing for me is being able to bring that happiness to people of being able to do something they didn’t think they could,” she said. That’s a beautiful sentiment indeed.