By: Joe Bachman 6/19/19 Stevens Point News
STEVENS POINT — Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation (AADF) dedicated its fourth Stearman, the Spirit of Wisconsin, at the Stevens Point Municipal Airport on Wednesday, June 19.
The historic 1943 biplane was once used to train aviators during World War II. Using money raised locally by the AADF, the biplane was restored. With that, on a perfect Wisconsin day, a local World War II veteran received the first inaugural dream flight in the new stearman. He would be one of seven to receive flights on the day.
“It was a labor of love for three years, and this is a fantastic community that helped it all come true.” said David Lamken, volunteer at Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation.
Lamken tells the story of his father, Eddie Lamken, who was wheel-chair bound at 89-years-old by choice. According to Lamken, his father “gave up” on life. However, once he took a flight in 2015, he was smiling from ear- to- ear and hasn’t been in a wheelchair since.
“The effect is has on veterans and families of veterans is life-changing.” Lamken added.
Furthermore, the Spirit of Wisconsin will permanently call Stevens Point home, as it will be based at the airport year-round to honor Midwest veterans.
“Whether it’s the many people who came over the years to support his event, and of course our veterans, who we’re all here for today to recognize, honor, and celebrate, it just speaks volumes about our community.” said Rep. Katrina Shankland (D-Stevens Point).
The foundation was started in 2011 by Darryl and Carol Fisher. Fisher publicly recognized long-time AADF member Marcia McDonald for her hard work and support in the foundation.
“I can’t say enough about the community and the people that stepped forward.” said Mayor Mike Wiza.
The event included a salute by the Stevens Point AMVETS Post #1051, and VFW Post 10262 Honor Guard, a rendition of the Star Spangled Banner by Wausau’s Pro Musica Choir, and lunch served by the Stevens Point Care Center.