Sunday, June 18, 2017

Vietnam Veteran's Wish to Fly P-Model Cessna Granted

Vietnam War Veteran Gets Flight Of His Dreams
by Molly Solomon
June 17, 2017
Rowland was diagnosed with lymphocytic cancer in January. Doctors told him he only had a pint of blood left in his body. After trips to four different hospitals and two stints in rehab, Rowland was finally healthy enough to get on the plane.

It was a special day for a Vietnam War veteran in Vancouver, Washington. Simon Rowland, 66, has always wanted to fly in an old P-Model Cessna plane. And this weekend, he got his wish.
Veteran Simon Rowland peering out
the window of the Cessna plane as 
it flies across parts of southwest 
Washington. Molly Solomon/OPB

A crowd of friends who helped organize the flight met him at the runway Saturday morning. One of them is Meredith McMackin, an art therapist who met Simon while teaching a class at the VA Portland Community Living Center on the Vancouver campus.

“We were outside because it was a beautiful day and I had art supplies out there,” remembers McMackin. “And this fellow, Simon, looks up and sees a small plane and says, ‘I want to fly in one of those before I die.’”

That planted a seed for McMackin and she started making calls to the nearby Pearson Field. She got in contact with a local pilot, Bill Rollin, who was happy to help. When McMackin told Rowland she had secured a plane, he broke down in tears.
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