Dream Flights gives five veterans the flight of a lifetime

Dream Flights takes off out of Merrill Municipal Airport
Published: Jul. 17, 2022 at 9:29 PM CDT
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MERRILL, Wis. (WSAW) - Five fearless veterans got to take the flight of a lifetime on Sunday. It’s part of a flight tour, called Dream Flights, that flies seniors and veterans around the city of Merrill.

Dream Flights are 20-minute flights that take veterans on a ride in an open-cockpit plane. Five local veterans from Bell Tower Residence soared 1,000 feet in the sky on the flight.

“Dream flights are a way of honoring our senior citizens, especially the veterans,” said Kris McGarigle, the administrator for Bell Tower Residence, “this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many of them as they’re in their later years of life and I think it just emphasizes their value.”

Event organizers said the flight is a way to thank the veterans for their service.

“I call it a time machine because you know, our veterans will go in at 85-90 and they’ll come out in spirit at 25,” said Darryl Fisher, the pilot, and president of Dream Flights.

Fisher said he’s flown over 1,500 dream flights for veterans and seniors.

“This to me is my service to veterans. We’re here to say thank you for everything they’ve done for us at a special time in their life when they need a little bit of an uplifting experience,” said Fisher.

The veterans got to fly in a restored World War II-era biplane.

“And it was a World War II trainer. So when pilots came into the air core, army air core in 1939 and on, they would start flying in this airplane,” said Fisher.

Tom Sazama is a 90-year-old navy veteran who served 4 years in the navy during the Korean War. He is one of the veterans who spread his wings on the Dream Flights.

“We’ll be able to talk about the experience for a long time,” said Sazama.

The Dream Flights brings excitement to those who have served our country.

“They get in, they’re kind of apprehensive. When they get out they’re excited. They’re thrilled. It gives them an energy they haven’t had in a long time,” said Fisher.

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