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ChapterGram: November 2013

Thank a Vet With Breakfast

EAA Chapter 1414, Poplar Grove, Illinois

"I didn't even know this airport existed," was one comment at EAA Chapter 1414's recent Thank a Vet With Breakfast event.

A cloudless sky, no wind, and a new chapter facility brought many local people out to the last pancake breakfast of the season. October is the month when the local veterans are honored for their service by Chapter 1414. Past breakfasts have also recognized mothers, fathers, and first responders for the significant offerings they provide for a stronger and more meaningful community.

The Poplar Grove, Illinois, EAA chapter opened its new facility during last May's pancake breakfast. One of the activities was a presentation by Jeff Skiles, first officer of US Airways Flight 1549, the Miracle on the Hudson. Kids ages 8 to 17 could get a free airplane ride through the Young Eagles program, which continues to be a popular part of all the breakfasts. Some 37 youngsters received a Young Eagle ride today.

"Generation gap" was a term used a lot some years back, and it wasn't considered a good thing. Sunday's event had a great opportunity to demonstrate this gap in a more positive light. Brent Nystrom, 8, of Elburn, Illinois, and a first-time Young Eagle passenger, met Fred Ohr, 91, U.S. Army Air Forces and World War II ace. Fred and Trent now share something very special: flying!

For so many of us, once bitten by the flying bug, things are never quite the same. For Trent, he will know from now on that he had just shaken hands with a significant part of history. Who knows how that will all filter down throughout his life? To be sure, it is something that few adults, and to a lesser degree, kids have experienced.

What we as EAA members can offer to the community goes beyond aviation/flying, though that is a big part of all our lives. The spirit of people sustaining and renewing friendships and starting new ones is something that happens, though not in an intentional way. But perhaps we need to think of it in those terms, too. Having a well-organized, clean, and friendly place for our neighbors to gather is something we can do well.

Not every "leftover" from one of our breakfasts can be taken home in a Styrofoam box; much of what goes home with our customers will be carried in their hearts.

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