On cloud nine: senior veterans take flight of a lifetime


Grand Rapids, Mich.-Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation (AADF) recently flew into Grand Rapids to honor eight military veterans, ranging in ages of 80-100. The veterans all live at Covenant Village of the Great Lakes, a senior living community in Grand Rapids.

Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation is a non-profit dedicated to “giving back to those who have given,” by providing Dream Flights in one of three fully restored Boeing Stearman biplanes, the same aircraft used to train aviators in the ’30s and ’40s. Nationwide, the AADF tour allows World War II, Korean and Vietnam War veterans as well as aviation enthusiasts to experience the thrill of flight in an open cockpit biplane. To date, AADF has provided more than 2,500 flights. However this is their first visit to Michigan.

Chuck Smith, 82, was a U.S. Marine Corps, Sergeant, serving from 1953-1957. Throughout his time serving, he was assigned to a forward air controller unit consisting of 8 men, and was responsible for guiding pilots to targets on the ground. Chuck’s unit spent time in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean.

Covenant Village of the Great Lakes is a retirement community in the heart of Western Michigan, where specialty events, much like this, often take place to connect residents with the vibrant west Michigan community.

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