Young Eagles Rally Reports – 2009

 


April 11, 2009 – Young Eagles Rally

Another Picture Perfect Day for Flying

Saturday, April 11 was sunny and breezy…and perfect for a Young Eagles Rally.

Forty-six youngsters flew with our intrepid pilots: Butch Bejna, Victor Croswell, Steve Hammond, Andy James, and Steve MacCabe. Conspicuously missing was our Fearless Leader/Chief Pilot, Ken Rapier. We struggled on valiantly, while he recovered from a hospital stay.

On the ground our volunteers included (in order of signing in): Matthew Robinson, Veleda Robinson, Carol MacCabe, Bob Mullins, Moses Jones, Paul Wilson, Hilton Joseph, Betty Guice, Charles Guice, Bev Dunjill, Jean Dunjill, Clarence Holland, Desmond Underwood (F.A.A.), Lt. Col. Karen Bashaw (Civil Air Patrol), Milton Wlliams, Karon Thompson, Barb Werner, Welton Taylor, Derrick Henry (all the way from New Jersey), Mary Ward, Victor Croswell, Dana Richard, Briana Dracousis, Gary Werner (Barb’s son), Rufus Hunt, Jr., LaVerne Shelton, Don Clay, Evie Clay, Zebulun Clay (our youngest volunteer ever), Rob Strickland, Clayton James, Keith Renfroe, Julius Jackson, Bob Martin, and Duane Hayden.

Lunch was chili (Barb) and Sloppy Joes (Don), fresh fruit (Betty), chips and dip, chocolate Easter cupcakes (Don), brownies (Carol), never-empty coffee pot (Mary) and soft drinks (Don).

We now have TWO Young Eagles Rallies in a row. How wonderful, after months of poor weather (and a TFR) forcing rally cancellations. Our next rally will be Saturday, May 9, 2009. Why not make plans now to join us at the Gary Airport. For the Chief Pilot: Happy Flyin’!

Carol MacCabe

Young Eagles Regional Representative

June 14, 2009 – Young Eagles Rally

Flag Day – 2009

June 14th, 2008. Flag Day and International Young Eagles Day and a beautiful day it was. Sunny, clear skies with unlimited visibility and light winds. A perfect day for pilots Butch Bejna, Vic Croswell, Joe Gmitter, Mark Odeen, Ken Rapier and Dan Skoda to team up with volunteers Rhonda Buss, Don Clay, Clarence Holland, Julius Jackson, Wil Johnson, Moses Jones, Hilton Joseph, Melvin Knazze, Bob Mullins, Keith Renfroe, Carl Robinson, Vince Saunders, LaVerne Shelton, Welton Taylor, Karon Thompson, Mary Ward, Barb Werner, Milt Williams and Paul Wilson to fly 34 Young Eagles. The pilots and volunteers started the day with coffee doughnuts, sweet rolls and breakfast sausage sandwiches. The afternoon closed with chilli, hot wings, ribs, chips, cole slaw, carrots, celery, watermelon and birthday cake for Don Clay. This is what happens when the volunteer cooks give Rob Strickland a day off from the grill. Our thanks to Don, Vic, K aron, Mary and Barb for providing such a delightful feast. A good time was had by all. You were invited to join us so it’s your fault if you missed it. Okay, you get one more shot at it. June 28th is Volunteer Appreciation Day. Join us at the airport for lunch at Noon for some good food and socializing. Why not bring your significant other to meet the rest of the Team? You’re invited to fly in, drive in or walk in, just join in. There will be no Young Eagles flights on Volunteer Appreciation Day.

Reminder: The next Young Eagles rally will be July 12th. The Young Eagles rally for August is CANCELLED. Happy Flyin’!

Ken Rapier, Chief Pilot

Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Program

July 18, 2009 – Young Eagles Rally

Young Eagles Rally held at Lewis University

Orchestrated by Duane Hayden, under the direction of Director of Operations, Bob Mullins and Flight Director, Vic Croswell, Butch Bejna, Ken Rapier and Keith Renfroe flew the 21 youngsters that arrived at the Lewis University Airport on the Chicago bus. They were assisted by the Lewis University Flight Operations staff and Young Eagles Volunteers Rosalind Cobbs, Bev Dunjill, Jean Dunjill, Betty Guice, Charles Guice, Moses Jones, Melvin Knazze, Rob Strickland Welton Taylor and Milt Williams. The July 18th rally was a special rally for the summer since there will be no Young Eagles rally in August because the Tuskegee Airmen will be in Oshkosh August 1st, in the Bud Biliken parade August 8th, at the Chicago Air & Water Show August 15th and the Rockford Airshow August 22nd. The Young Eagles rally last Saturday was also significant because there was a surprise 11th birthday party for Joseph Cobbs. DeSean Hayden, son of Chicago Chapter 2nd Vice Pre sident, Col. Duane Hayden, reached his 7th birthday, making him eligible for his Young Eagle flight. DeSean took his momentous flight in one of our Redtail Cherokees with Chief Pilot Ken Rapier at Col. Hayden’s Alma Mater, Lewis University. Upon completion of his flight, he and the other new Young Eagles were sworn in as Young Eagles by Milt Williams and DeSean had his Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Wings pinned on by his Godfather, Milt Williams. After the rally, surrounded by the delightful Blue Angels theme decorations, everyone enjoyed Joseph’s Blue Angels birthday cake and were treated to pizza and soda provided by Rosalind Cobbs; all of this while watching Blue Angels videos. It would certainly be an understatement to say that a good time was had by all. You had to be there. Our next Young Eagles rally will be on Saturday, September 12, 2009. Happy Flyin’!

Ken Rapier, Chief Pilot

Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Program

September 12, 2009 – Young Eagles Rally

CAPS & Sea Cadet Students Participate in End of Summer Rally

Being blessed with picture perfect flying weather at Gary, while Midway, DuPage and Chicago Executive airports were fogged in, gave pilots Butch Bejna, Bob Brutvan, Vic Croswell, Ken Rapier and Steve Whitney an opportunity to put smiles on the faces of 63 new Young Eagles. 22 of the youngsters came on the Chicago bus under the supervision of Julius Jackson, 10 youngsters came from the Chicago CAPS program and 7 from the Sea Cadets program. Volunteers assisting to make the rally possible were Mike Askew, Bev Dunjill, Jean Dunjill, Julius Echols, Betty Guice, Charles Guice, Duane Hayden via remote, Rufus Hunt, Moses Jones, Hilton Joseph, Melvin Knazze, Keith Renfroe, Charlie Richardson, LaVerne Shelton, Rob Strickland, Welton Taylor, Karon Thompson, Barb Werner, Milt Williams and Paul Wilson. After a long day of flying, the pilots and volunteers enjoyed the usual social hour and relaxation time with an awards presentation and a luncheon of hot d ogs, chips, turkey, ham, cheeses, crackers, potatoe salad, fruit salad, red beans and rice, prepared by our now famous team of chefs led by Rob Strickland, assisted by Cathy Bell, Betty Guice, Karon Thompson and Barb Werner. Having completed our 5th rally of the year, our 2009 Young Eagles total is 221 for an average of 44 youngster per rally, keeping our averages pretty consistent. Our grand total for Gary Airport now stands at 2420. A special thanks goes to the dedicated men and women of the Gary Airport, the Gary Jet Center, the Gary Airport Control Tower and the Gary Fire Department for opening up the fire station for all of our Young Eagles to see and have a hands on experience operating the fire hose. All of these people get paid to help us and always do so willingly with a smile. Everyone associated with the Young Eagles program is a winner. Plan now to join the team of winners at our next Young Eagles rally on October 10, 2009. Happy Flyin’!

Ken Rapier, Chief Pilot

Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Program

October 10, 2009 – Young Eagles Rally

Chicago Frogs Club Sponsor Refreshments for Students & Volunteers

I will begin this report by clearing up a misconception from last month’s report. I expressed our gratitude to some paid employees that help us with our Young Eagles rallies. Those employees are the staff of the Gary Air Traffic Control Tower, the staff at the Gary Jet Center and the Gary Airport staff. These employees are on the “clock” when the rallies take place and by virtue of that fact, they are getting paid.

We are indeed grateful for their assistance every month but make no mistake about the fact that the pilots and ground volunteers that make up the Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Team do not get paid. The Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Program would not exist without our Volunteer Team and each member of the Team knows how grateful I, the Tuskegee Airmen, the parents and particularly every child is for their participation. I will remain eternally in their debt. I sincerely wish we could pay them but I know they are satisfied by the sense of accomplishment they carry with them at the completion of a successful Young Eagles rally each month. The candid response youngsters treat us to is our payment. The resultant smile on the face of a newly sworn in Young Eagle is literally priceless. You simply have to be there to understand.

The weather Friday was blustery and frightful. The weather the following day, Saturday, October 10, 2009, Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Volunteer Team Young Eagles rally day, blessed us with sunny skies, gentle winds and cool temperatures. Perfect weather for flying. It could just as easily have been November according to the temperature, not to mention the fact that after the rally, our pilots and volunteers dined on a turkey, deep fried by Don Clay, sweet potatoes whipped by Barb Werner, greens cooked by Rob Strickland, fruit salad made by Betty Guice and sweet potato pie made b y Cathy Bell, all served by Karon Thompson. We achieved a coup le of first as well. 1) We had 60 youngsters pre-registered and all 60 showed up. 2) We fed every youngster that came to the rally. 60 Subway box lunches were served to the youngsters, compliments of the Frogs Club of Chicago, delivered by Capt. Mark Stevenson with additional donations from the Frogs Club Community Service Chairman, Waymon Davis, of Davis Apartments and from Tony Peraica, 16th District Commissioner of the Cook County Board. We can’t afford to provide lunch for the youngsters that attend our rallies. The luncheon for pilots and volunteers is donated by the volunteers. Thanks to a special effort from the Frogs Club, every youngster was treated to lunch.

10 of the Sea Cadets that came to the rally did not get the opportunity to fly because of the time constraints of another event they had planned for the afternoon. Since we are operating out of the Gary Airport terminal building on a temporary basis, we were forced to wait outside for an hour and a half before someone arrived to unlock the terminal building, resulting in a late start for the rally. Additionally, the terminal parking lot is now suddenly locked, which created chaos because initially, parents parked their cars in front of the terminal. This caused us to have to get every car moved to another place because if the terminal is occupied, the fire lane must be kept clear but make no mistake about it: even though youngsters had to wait outside in the cold for over an hour and the parking of vehicles was a fiasco, the Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Volunteer Team is dauntless and will never allow some simple, man-created obstacles to stand in the way of our youth aviation program.

The pilots that flew the 50 Young Eagles were: Butch Bejna, Vic Croswell, Rufus Hunt, Keith Renfroe and Ken Rapier. Assisting the pilots with the rally that was successful, in spite of man’s attempt to make it otherwise were: Bev Dunjill, Jean Dunjill, Don Clay, Betty Guice, Charles Guice, Duane Hayden, Clarence Holland, Moses Jones, Hilton Joseph, Melvin Knazze, Bob Martin, Bob Mullins, Carl Robinson, Rob Strickland, Welton Taylor, Karon Thompson, Barb Werner, Milt Williams and Paul Wilson.

Happy Flyin’!

Ken Rapier, Chief Pilot

Tuskegee Airmen Young Eagles Program

December 12, 2009 – Gary-Chicago International Airport.

A Typical Young Eagles Rally – “A Lesson In Overcoming Obstacles”

Weather: Sunny skies, light winds and temperature slightly above freezing.

Director of Flight Operations, Victor Croswell arrived at the airport and greeted a group of 25 Boy Scouts. Despite initial Airport Terminal Access problems, the Boy Scout Troop is given a presentation by Welton Taylor and Melvin Knazze. An additional three youngsters arrive later and also complete our in-processing requirements.

1230 hours: After successfully overcoming administrative logistical difficulties, the last of today’s crew of 28 new Young Eagles is flown. Our volunteer pilots were: Mike Askew (flew 9); Butch Bejna (flew 4); Steve MacCabe (flew 10) and Keith Renfroe (flew 5).

Our flying mission was supported through the efforts of ground-crew volunteers Victor Croswell, Betty Guice, Charles Guice, Duane Hayden, Clarence Holland, Rufus A. Hunt, Jr., Moses Jones, Melvin Knazze, Carol MacCabe, Bob Mullins, Dana Richard, Matthew Robinson, Marvin Robinson, Rob Strickland, Welton Taylor, Karon Thompson, Barb Werner and Paul Wilson.

Following another successful rally, our volunteers enjoyed a pleasant lunch consisting of pizza, chilli, cornbread, muffins, and brownies provided by Vic Croswell, Carol MacCabe, Steve MacCabe, Dana Richard, Rob Strickland and Barb Werner. the rally concluded with everyone having Birthday cake and singing Happy Birthday to Flight Ops Director and Acting Chief Pilot, Vic Croswell.

Report submitted by Victor Croswell and Karon Thompson

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