I am a brewer and small business owner. For me planes serve three purposes: transportation, entertainment at air shows, and as testaments to modern science. Needless to say, my association with Flight1 is less about a love of aviation and more about the fundamental transformation that can occur when a child experiences flight.
The first flight I took was terrifying. I was 5 years old and flew from Indianapolis to Dallas with my fraternal grandmother. I did not see Grandma Evans very often and all I really knew of her at the time was that she was a strong, life-hardened woman who could be equally stern and compassionate at any moment.
When we boarded the plane, I was crying loudly and persistently. She offered no consolation for my fear — perhaps because she felt it too. Instead, she paused my crying long enough to tell me we were on that flight together — no matter what. All through the flight, I closed my eyes, clinched my teeth, and begged out loud to land. When the flight FINALLY landed, my fears were allayed, and for that one week while I was in Texas, Grandma Evans was my closest friend.
Children in Flight1’s programs bear a burden that would bring most adults to their knees. But these children persevere regardless of the odds and possibly even in spite of them. But this perseverance can come at an emotional cost.
I wanted to be a part of Flight1 not because it makes everything ‘ok’, but because it is rooted in the thought that doing something amazing — flying — can make the child stronger, more confident and better equipped to navigate the road ahead, no matter how rocky it might get.
My grandmother knew that there was no way she could console me on that day, but in the two hours of that flight to Texas, she was there with me, ensuring that when I opened my eyes, I wasn’t alone. In that same way, Flight1 is with the children in its program as a stalwart, supportive and compassionate ally.
I am honored to be part of an organization that walks with these children through their hardest struggles. And when they land, they will have accomplished something incredible that few individuals have experienced and they will walk away transformed — for the better.
Owner/Brewer Black Swan Brewpub
Flight1 Board Member