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Local veterans take flight at BG on a vintage plane

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

The plane they flew in was built in the 1940s. It was originally used to train pilots during World War II. All these years later, he still provides valuable service to those who have served our country.

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

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

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

Time and time again family and friends have watched the plane descend the runway with a veteran. There were smiles, cheers and a few tears.

Nick Stroh is a United States Navy veteran. He worked on aircraft carrier radar systems. He loved every minute of his dream flight.

“I don’t think anyone owes me anything at this point. I’ve had a great life and seeing something like this happen, and being able to do it, is a real treat,” Stroh said.

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 Dream Flights’ mission is simple: to give back to those who have given so much.

“It’s changed me because I can hang out with people who have sacrificed themselves in ways that most of us can’t imagine,” Fisher said. “And I can bring them a little joy at a time when they really need it. I volunteer, but I get paid in appreciation and I say I’m overpaid!

Fisher has received rave reviews for her work.

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

The veterans who went flying today were all over 80 years old. Dream Flights has provided over 5,000 free flights since its launch.

If you want to know more about the association and its mission, click here.

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