We had a very welcome streak of warm, sunny weather in the upper midwest this week that made for some great flying. I was able to fly down to Des Moines from Minne to join my wife Andi's family for the Holiday, and catch up with some old friends.
One of those friends was Jackson, a special young man we met when we were dealing with Andi's sister's losing battle with cancer. When we met, Jackson too had cancer, but the battle was going pretty well. He was, and is, as an intelligent, engaging, and funny young man as you will ever meet. His whip smart wit caught me off guard a few times, but he always makes me laugh.
Jackson has recently really been battling the cancer. Andi talked to his mom and asked if he would enjoy a ride around Des Moines in a small plane - the answer came back to us as an emphatic "YES!" Jackson also asked if his younger brother Nash could get a ride as well - that's the kind of kid he is. While I was happy to fly both boys - VAF stepped up in the person of Kelley Kokemiller and his RV-9A from Boone, just a few miles away. (others offered to help as well - so many great people here!) Kelley met us at the Ankeny airport on Weds afternoon and some great flying ensued!
Boarding was little tricky, but Jackson handled it like a champ!
Strapped in and ready to GO!
Jackson was steely-eyed and steady-handed! He held altitude as we circled the Saylorville Reservoir - he was a total natural! Jackson even got a glimpse of Nash when Kelley flew his brother by 500 ft above!
When you fly with a guy like Jackson - You simply must Selfie!!!
Back on the ground, it was smiles all around. What a kid! - I am thankful for so many things - but watching the grace of this young man and how he handles himself makes me proud and very thankful to know him. This was a special flight for me. I am hoping we find time to do it again.
Very special thanks to Kelley for bringing his beautiful -9A to Des Moines to make the day a smash success.