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Dream Flights for veterans

Free rides in biplane offered

By Angie Landsverk

Veterans from throughout the area took to the air on the first day of summer.

Close to 10 veterans went on Dream Flights Thursday, June 21, at Waupaca Municipal Airport-Brunner Field.

The Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation provided the free flights in a Boeing Stearman biplane, the same aircraft used to train military aviators in the 1940s.

It was the second consecutive year the nonprofit organization did so.

The foundation is dedicated to senior citizens and U.S. military veterans who live in long-term care communities and always had an interest in flying in such a plane.

The Waupaca County Caregiver Coalition, local businesses and families sponsored the local event.

Members of fire departments from Waupaca, New London and Ogdensburg assisted the veterans in getting in and out of the plane.

Kenneth “Dick” Dare was among the veterans who went on a Dream Flight that day.

The 90-year-old veteran served stateside in the U.S. Army for two years during World War II.

He worked in the kitchen at Fort Belvoir, in Virginia.

For most of his life, he lived in Waukesha, before moving to Montello and then to Iola Living Assistance.

Pat, his wife of 62 years, watched him take the flight.

Daryl Fisher, founder of Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation, was the pilot.

After the flight, Fisher signed a cap and gave it to Dare.

Dare said he was not nervous about flying in the open cockpit biplane.

“A friend of mine did a lot of flying, so I though I’d try it,” he said. “I liked it real well.”

Next year, veterans will ride on a new plane, the Spirit of Wisconsin.

More than $125,000 was raised to add a Boeing Stearman to this area for Dream Flights.

Tim Dietzen, president of the Waupaca County Caregiver Coalition, said the coalition worked with the Stevens Point Ageless Aviation group to raise the funds.

The plane will be based at Stevens Point Municipal Airport.

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