A 102 Year-Old Bold Pilot

Photo: Kin Man Hui, Staff / San Antonio Express-News

Photo: Kin Man Hui, Staff / San Antonio Express-News

Here is a wonderful story from the San Antonio Express News that takes the Growing Bolder philosophy sky high! It’s actually two stories in one, first,  older pilots getting the chance to climb back into the cockpit and second, the intriguing organization that makes it possible.

The organization has a great name, it’s The Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation. Here’s how they describe themselves on their website:

The Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation is a non-profit organization established and dedicated to honoring seniors and United States military veterans. The primary focus is on individuals living in long-term care communities. Our mission is to “Give Back To Those Who Have Given”. Through our donors, the Foundation provides Dream Flights in a Boeing Stearman biplane, the same aircraft used to train many military aviators in the 1940’s.

They are a national organization, meaning you might be able to get them to come to you! In this case the Express News followed them to two retirement communities and saw the magic take place first hand, when 102-year-old Retired Air Force test pilot Gerhard Schriever was invited to head back up into the blue.

You can take a look at their article and learn how to perhaps make this happen for some veterans in your area by clicking here.

 

Mr. Spock and Me

Leonard Nimoy

I can still remember the night I first met Mr. Spock… It was the first week of school. Early September, 1966. I had just returned to begin third grade and instead of everybody talking about their summer break the buzz was about a new TV series set to debut that was supposed to be different than anything before it.

I’m not sure where the anticipation came from, but it was definitely spread by my classmates, so that Thursday evening I was right in front of the TV. It wouldn’t be easy, the rest of the family wanted to watch My Three Sons. We decided we’d watch the first few minutes and see. That’s all it took! We were hooked on Star Trek, and have been ever since.

Now, there are countless articles and blogs that dive in to theories as to why the show became such a phenomenon and I won’t do that here, other than just to mark the passing of one of the strongest reasons why.

Mr. Spock was the boldest character television had produced to that point. He was different, an outsider, an alien in so many ways. Instead of rejecting him, the nation embraced him. Why? Search online and again, you’ll find countless opinions, even dissertations attempting to explain it.

Spock & BillLogic aside, to me there were three main reasons: Kirk, Spock and McCoy. It was what they represented, three distinctly different personalities all with the desire to make a difference. They learned to work as the ultimate team, to respect each other’s differences, that the good of the many outweighs the needs of the few.

They were the kind of characters a third grader could find themselves in and strive to want to be. By then we had all sort of outgrown Daniel Boone, Davey Crocket and the Lone Ranger. Here was something special that we could call our own, that we could see ourselves in and that we hoped we could one day be.

Star Trek inspired a generation to want to excel, to have a purpose and to want to make a difference.

The death of Leonard Nimoy hit me hard. Yes, it’s another reminder that we are all mortal and one day we will all be called home. But it’s also sad to know that the man who so well developed this character who became the anchor of sanity, loyalty and logic is no more.

I had the chance to interview Leonard Nimoy in 1995. I was just as impressed as I would have been at age 8. He was everything I imagined him to be! There were people everywhere who wanted to say hi. He was gracious to them all. It wasn’t that he loved the attention, but he had a deep respect for those who connected with the character.

He understood that he, and the rest of the cast represent sort of an intergalactic Tony Robbins, someone who’s message was, you’re just fine just the way you are! As long as you respect life, care about others and are willing to stand up for the oppressed you have a place in the Star Trek universe.

Sure, it was a corny, goofy, low-budget, flawed little TV show that was cancelled after three seasons, but at the core of it all was a glimpse of the very essence of humanity and a reflection of what so many still wish we would strive to be.

And what better wish could anyone ever offer than live long and prosper.

Thank you, Leonard Nimoy, for helping inspiring a generation to care!

 

Maybe We Need to be More Like Moe

 

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Does life sometimes get you down? Frustrated? Do you sometimes feel trapped? Wondering if this is all there is? Maybe all you need is to be a little more like Moe.

That’s right. You know who I’m talking about. I mean, c’mon! How many people are instantly identifiable by their first name alone? Oprah? Geraldo? Elvis?

And Moe.

Even if you can’t stand The Three Stooges, and a LOT of people, mostly women, can’t (why is that?),  you still know exactly who Moe is. His image pops right into your mind! That’s a pretty big accomplishment!

Not many people can claim to be considered true originals. Moe was certainly a true original.

  • Have you ever seen anyone else (other than the early era Beatles) with that distinctive, “straight across the brow” haircut?
  • And how about his signature move, the eye-poke? No one’s had the nerve to try to pull that ever since my little brother nearly gouged out my eyes in 1963.
  • And more than even Don Rickles, Moe was the King of the Insult! Have you ever heard anyone use these? Lunkhead, porkeypine, weasel, chucklehead, skinny rat, hot airedale, big lummox, dumb cluck, and chowderhead?

And Moe was Growing Bolder decades before it became so cool to do so! The evidence can be found in nearly every episode.

  • Moe always wore a suit. And a nice hat. He always believed in looking his best.
  • He always used good manners, lifting his pinkies while slurping his soup and using the proper knife to eat his peas.
  • He was always looking to better himself, either looking for a new job, trying to get rich, searching for a new relationship or simply trying to get ahead in the world.
  • He was always an encourager, the ultimate enabler, imploring his pals, Larry and Curly to do their best, and to exceed expectations.

But ultimately, Moe Howard never stopped trying. He never stopped believing. He never stopped hoping that success was right around the corner. He never gave up on any situation, no matter how dire.

Maybe we all could use a little Moe Howard in our own lives.

What? It’s a terrible idea? Why, I oughta…! Speak for yourself, you numbskull!

Oh, I guess I see what you mean. Moe did have his issues. Anyway, the whole point of this is simply to wish Moe a happy birthday. He was born on June 19th, 1897. That would make him 117 years old today! And you know what? We all still know who he is! And that’s not an easy thing to pull off. So, happy birthday, Moe! Looks like you turned out to be a pretty big success after all! And thanks for the inspiration.

Because if Moe could find a way to start Growing Bolder so can you! One word of warning, just watch it with the eye-pokes, will ya?