Donald, 95, has an everlasting passion for aviation. Though he has taken flight in an abundance of different aircrafts, he has never flown on a glider plane. When asked of his Wish, Donald knew immediately that he would love to feel the air from a different perspective.
Starting young, Donald became interested in flight right out of high school. He decided to become educated in aircraft mechanic, so he led himself through school and found a career in the field as an airline mechanic, inspector and quality assurance technician. In 1943, Donald left his post with Pan American Airlines to join the Navy. According to Donald, his younger brother had been drafted, and he explains that he could not have allowed his younger brother to serve in active duty alone. That being said, he served as a First Class Aviation Machinist Mate in Newfoundland, Canada and helped maintain the planes on the base.
After WWII ended, Donald’s passion had yet to fizzle out. He happily returned to Pan American Airlines, finishing his career with 40 years under his belt. Donald eventually began volunteer work at a local hospital, where he still volunteers to this day. Aside from that, he married the love of his life in 1949 and had four children, all of which are still alive and healthy. Though his wife passed, he has five grandchildren and participates in hobbies at his residence in Brookdale.
In regards to Donald’s hobbies, he took a writing class, which is aiding him in writing a novel about his life story. Additionally, he likes to watch movies at the theatre and go out to dinner with his fellow residents. In regards to his passion for flight, he also loves to go on bird watching excursions. His interest in all things aeronautical was readily apparent when he declared, “Flying takes you out of this world! I want to be able to fly in any way possible. This would fulfill my dream and truly be my wish of a lifetime!”
On March 25th, 2016, Wish of a Lifetime and Brookdale were honored to send this Navy Vet on a glider flight to fulfill his Wish. As Donald and the glider pilot soared through the air at 5,000 feet, over a dozen of Donald’s fellow Brookdale residents and friends cheered him on from the ground. Donald said, “I enjoyed every single moment of it. Overall, I was glad we landed safely!”
Special thanks to Seminole-Lake Gliderport who made this experience possible, and to B.L. Garrett who photographed the event.