For Immediate Release: 08/31/2021
YAKIMA, Wash. – Dream Flights and Avamere Living’s community-based care (CBC) location in Yakima, Washington teamed up for Operation September Freedom (OSF). Ellis Bowhay, a 92-year-old resident at Avamere at Englewood Heights, was gifted the flight on August 22, 2021. The flight departed from McAllister Field at the Yakima Air Terminal. Bowhay was accompanied by two fellow residents, Executive Director Lisa Owen, Activity Director Jennifer Sloan, and Activity Driver Phil Edinger, who is also a veteran.
Bowhay served in the United States Navy from 1941-1945. He was excited for the flight and kept asking if he was going to get to actually fly the plane or just ride. Bowhay told the pilots he had flown in many planes and helicopters over the years, as his job as a biologist required many flights, but riding in an open cockpit biplane was a new experience. Upon landing, the pilot asked Bowhay how the flight was and he excitedly replied, “It was great! I would’ve liked a little more coverage over my head, though!”
The effort organized by Dream Flights is meant locate and honor as many World War II veterans as possible with free Dream Flights in six restored Boeing Stearman biplanes.
Dream Flights pilots, who primarily fly for major airlines and are active duty or retired military veterans themselves, volunteer their time to fly these veterans in the country’s largest fleet of restored/fully-operational Stearman biplanes. During the 20-minute flight, veterans experience the freedom and exhilaration of soaring 1,000 feet in the air in an iconic, open cockpit biplane.
Dream Flights expects to honor more than 1,000 WWII veterans during the 60-day barnstorming event. Dream Flights are always free to participants. Supporters can make a tax-deductible donation here, where 100% of the proceeds benefit the program.
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About the Avamere Family of Companies
Founded in 1995 and based in Wilsonville, Oregon, the Avamere Family of Companies provides assisted living, independent living, memory care, rehabilitation, home care, transitional care, and more. Today Avamere’s diverse companies operate in 300 locations across 20 states with over 8,000 employees. Avamere is proud to be considered one of Oregon’s most admired companies as they continue to serve their valued patients and residents. For more information, visit avamere.com.
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