Local veterans take flight in BG on board vintage plane

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) – Thursday marked a special day for a group of local heroes. The men all served our country and they were able to take flight in a vintage biplane thanks to a non-profit organization. Dream Flights provides free flights all over the country for veterans and seniors.

The plane they flew in was built in the 1940s. It was originally used to train pilots during WWII. All these years later, it is still providing a valuable service to those who served our country.

The beautifully restored biplane took to the skies at the Wood County Airport in Bowling Green a half dozen times today, carrying veterans who live at the Browning Masonic Community in Waterville.

The first flight in the Boeing Stearman biplane went to Gar Suitor.

“It certainly is an exciting way to spend a Thursday morning. I can tell you its the best Thursday morning I’ve had in the last 20-30 years,” said Suitor, a US Air Force veteran. “I was active duty for ten years, so I spent a lot of time on military planes, but not like this one.”

Family and friends looked on as the plane taxied down the runway with a veteran aboard time and time again. There were smiles, cheers, and a few tears.

Nick Stroh also plays for the US Navy. He worked on radar systems on aircraft carriers. He loved every minute of his dream flight.

“I figure no one owes me a thing at this point. I have had a good life and to have something like this come along, and be able to do it, is a real treat,” said Stroh.

Darryl Fisher is the president of Dream Flights. He comes from a long line of pilots.

“I feel like I was born to do this,” Fisher said.

Fisher says the mission of Dream Flights is simple: give a little back to those who gave so much.

“It has changed me because I get to spend time with people who have sacrificed in ways most of us cannot imagine,” Fisher said. “And I get to bring a little joy to them at a time when they really need it. I’m a volunteer, but I get paid in satisfaction and I say that I am overpaid!”

Fisher landed rave reviews for his work.

“The world is a better place because there are people who do things like this,” Stroh said. “We need more people like that.”

The vets who went flying today were all in their 80s. Dream Flights has provided more than 5,000 free flights since it got off the ground.

If you would like to learn more about the organization and its mission, click here.

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