Airplane ride

Gary Blair, left, visits with Owensboro pilot Brandon Blake on Friday at Wendell Foster.

As part of its “75 Years of Yes” projects, Wendell Foster helped get resident Gary Blair into a plane to soar above Owensboro with the help of staff and a local pilot.

According to Wendell Foster, Blair loves airplanes. His room is filled with pictures of the Blue Angels, and the Owensboro Air Show is his favorite event of the year. He is always dreaming of being up in the clouds, 30,000 feet in the air.

Thanks to Owensboro pilot Brandon Blake and Wendell Foster’s Vice President of Technology Scott Sloan, Blair was able to make the flight over Owensboro.

Blair was all smiles as he sat in the cockpit of the four-seat private plane at MidAmerica Jet in Owensboro, with a front-row seat to all the action, as Blake took him on his own ride over Daviess County.

Though Blair said he has been on a plane many times, he said it was “the best day ever.”

“It was wonderful,” he said. “I have loved them (airplanes) all my life.”

Blair, 76, said he watches the Owensboro Air Show each year and has even met many of the Blue Angels. He said he never misses it.

Blake said he got involved with the efforts to take Blair on the ride when a friend who works at Wendell Foster approached him about it.

Blake has owned his own plane and has been a pilot for around two years.

“Gary had a blast, that’s all I care about,” Blake said. “I’m blessed enough to get to fly every day. It’s good to see [him] be able to.”

Kara Howard, the facility’s community engagement specialist said the ride was part of the Wendell Foster 75th anniversary celebration. A video project, titled “75 Years of Yes,” in the works. The project showcases “yes” moments with clients where they have had a dream met while living at the facility.

Howard said the project highlights different kinds of moments for each client featured. It could be an anticipated promotion at work or simply finding companionship with another person. There are big and small moments, she said, and they help provide a better quality of life.

With Blair, she said videographers were on-site during the plane ride to capture each moment of it for him and show that those with disabilities can have their dreams fulfilled.

“People with disabilities can do all the things we can do … and that’s kind of what the video highlights,” she said.

Christie Netherton, cnetherton@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7360

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