Extraordinary Success Stories From Two of Our Past Students
In addition to the thousands of success stories, some of which are included in the journal entries, the following specific stories detail individual gratitude for the program. If you have a particular story that you would like to share with us please contact us. We would like to hear from you or your parents about what the program has meant to you.
Sarah is completely unremarkable in almost every way: an average high school student from the mountains of Tennessee, mentored by a struggling single parent (her absent dad in far-away New York) with an eye on JROTC as a source of some hope in a family where hope runs thin when it runs at all.
She does what is asked and expected of her - usually - and she looks forward with some optimism and a lot of dread to the day she'll be allowed to take the controls and pilot a Cessna 172 on an orientation flight from Tennessee's Greeneville Airport. Her fear of flying is palpable, but inevitably her day comes. And it goes well. Inspection ... take-off ... flight ... landing.
She climbs down from the little prop plane, and the dread seems, for the moment, to have faded, even if only a little. In its place is the kind of smile that usually comes from a sense of excitement; or accomplishment; or new-found self-confidence.
But not this time. This smile is different. Underneath it, you can still see the fear. But in spite of that, she looks at me, beaming, and says without hesitation or doubt, "Finally, I'll be able to get on an airliner and fly to New York and see my Dad."
We never know what piloting will mean to each of the JROTC kids who sit in a cockpit a couple thousand feet up in the air. But one thing's for sure. It almost always means a lot more than we think it does.
At Flight Foundation, we hope you'll help support the more than 8000 remarkable kids like Sarah - kids dedicated to learning; to becoming better people; and to making our world a little better place to live.
Letter From "Solo #5"
January 15, 2016
Dear Bill & Phillis,
Thank you for the email regarding FLIGHT Foundation. Upon opening, my mind instantly went back 20 years. Waking on a crisp, foggy morning to go fly; although, none of that would have been possible if someone (you) didn't give this kid a chance. I believe it was Glen Runion who donated toward a solo-flight scholarship, which I got to use – I am truly grateful.
Hope is a wonderful thing. Having hope, along with confidence, motivation, and purpose you can change the world. Hope, that four letter word, is often hard to find in the shadows of a challenging childhood. Especially, when those near and dear to you have no hope and don't know how to dispense it. However, it is fine people like you that are beacons of light into the souls of those needing that most precious commodity. And with hope, for myself, came confidence.
As a young person, it seemed my destiny would be being a laborer at a local factory, a cook in a restaurant, or some dismal existence that so many others knew as their life. All honorable professions in their own right, but with encouragement (and tough love) by you it made me think...there must be something beyond these hills. People, places, things, and dreams outside East Tennessee not marred in depression and substance abuse.
It is hard...let me rephrase, damn hard, for a teenage kid to see through the haze of a dysfunctional family and to believe there is a "better" life out there. I compare all the things that you did, JROTC and FLIGHT Foundation, as a combined ray of light shining from a lighthouse. A lighthouse showing a path away from turbulent seas to safety and prosperity.
I am forever grateful for all the things you did for me and so many others. Just your presence was/is an inspiration. So now it is my turn to give back to the very organization that inspired me to have a purpose-driven life. If you see some kid that seemingly has no future, has good heart and perhaps wants to do better, but doesn't have the "tools" to do so...think of me.
I wish you all a very joyous 2016 and maybe with my small gift, a kid's life can be forever changed...just like mine.