Bartlesville veterans had the ride of their lives today in a WWII biplane.
It took a lot of effort to get 72-year-old veteran Daniel Stefanopoulos out of his wheelchair and into the 1940 Boeing Stearman biplane, but once on board, they were quickly gone into the clouds. His son Pat stood there watching excitedly.
“He’s a great guy, he’s a great father, and I’m just happy that he had this opportunity to come here and experience something that will bring him a lot of joy, he will remember it for a long time,” Pat said.
Pat Stefanopoulos says his father, a Vietnam War veteran, now spends his days in a retirement home, which is why watching him fly is heartwarming.
“…walking out and away from that and able to get up in the air, he likes fast and exciting things and he’s just gonna eat that, he’s gonna love every minute of it,” says pat
After landing, Daniel didn’t give the response one would expect after a flight like this.
“How was that?” asked someone in the crowd.
“I don’t know,” Daniel replied.
But his excitement was evident.
“It was awesome, awesome,” he said.
Daniel said the flight was soothing and he would do it again in a heartbeat.
“Oh that was awesome, that was amazing, I told her that up there,” he said.
Darrel Cook has just joined Dream Flights, a national non-profit organization that provides flights to veterans across the country.
“It transforms them, it really does, they’re 20 again, you can see it in their faces and people who didn’t talk much before they become talkers and they love it,” he said. declared.
He says honoring veterans like Daniel is what it’s all about.
“I liked it, I would do it again,” said Daniel.