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Helping veterans take flight

Laurel to the Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation and its sponsors who gave local veterans a lift in more ways than one. Darryl Fisher, who started the foundation, brought his 1938 Boeing Stearman biplane to the Rowan County Airport and took a large group of veterans — most of whom served in World War II and live at Oak Park Retirement — on flights over the county. Fisher pilots the airplane, which is the kind used to train military pilots in World War II, but lets some who are former pilots take the controls for a few minutes when in the air. On this day, those pilots were Bill Howard and Tom Fite, who both flew Stearmans in World War II. There’s no charge for the flights, which are underwritten by the sponsors and are a “thank you” to the veterans. For him and his all-volunteer organization, Fisher said, no thanks are needed because “We are all overpaid with satisfaction.”

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Dart to the possibility that J.C. Price American Legion Post 107 might have to discontinue its decades-old Memorial Week celebration, which wraps up today. Memorial Week’s roots are in a celebration that started after the emancipation of slaves to honor northern soldiers in the Civil War. In the 1930s, the Negro Civic League and the J.C. Price American Legion Post co-sponsored the event, but the Civic League dissolved in the 1940s, leaving J.C. Price as the sole sponsor. Over the years, the week has been anticipated by local residents for its entertainment, vendors and carnival rides. It’s been a tradition for many families. And the post puts the money raised to good use, benefitting children in need through various events. But rising costs, lagging attendance and trouble at some previous events have raised questions about its future. Organizers say they’ll review this year’s edition once it’s over and make a decision. We hope they find a way to keep it going.
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Lots of people are getting their summer haircuts right about now, but how many are making it count for someone else? Laurels all around to girls at Sacred Heart Catholic School for doing just that. As recounted in a May 28 column by education reporter Jeanie Groh, about a dozen Sacred Heart students got their ponytails pruned for Locks of Love, a nonprofit that collects donated hair and uses it to make wigs and other hairpieces for financially disadvantaged children and young adults suffering from long-term medical hair loss. Donors need to be able to provide a ponytail or braid at least 10 inches long. Sixth-grader Clair Allen had that covered with a mane that reached her hip before she had it clipped at the event. “I know a lot of people with cancer,” Clair said. “This makes them feel better.” We’re sure it will, Clair, and you and your schoolmates are making it possible.

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