By Richard Walker | Veterans for Veterans
On Sept. 9 and 10, the Archuleta County Veterans for Veterans organization held its second annual fly-in event at Stevens Field.
Dozens of member volunteers began the set up on the Friday prior to the event and the “big top” tent was set up. Tables and chairs were put in place for our pancake breakfast and our griddle flippers began making hotcakes by 7:30 each morning.
The gates opened at 8 a.m., as did as the “chow” line. Hot coffee, orange juice and fresh fruit was all served along with breakfast by our Vets 4 Vets volunteers. Food trucks were also there serving delicious and unique coffee drinks and hot, delicious food for those who were not stuffed with our great pancakes and sausage.
Hundreds of locals attended, as well as folks from Creede and other nearby areas. The mobile air ambulance was also on display.
The big event, and the real reason we were all there, were the free airplane rides for kids from 8 to 18. Our own San Juan Flyers and friends took 142 kids for flights over two mornings,compared to last year’s total of 67.
Every child and young person who flew received a flight certificate signed by their pilot, a log book and an additional certificate for a free ground school lesson as an introduction to flight school.
The flights were sponsored by our very own chapter of the Young Eagles, a nationwide organization that encourages young people to develop an interest in flying. Also participating was the Experimental Aircraft Association, a group of flyers who build their own aircraft.
Every young flyer I saw disembarked the aircraft with a huge smile on their faces and that made all of the hard work that our volunteers put into the event more than worthwhile.
There was also a bake sale table where homemade cakes, cookies and other delightfully delicious goodies were offered for a donation. All of the funds from these donations were in support of the Raymond Taylor family. Taylor is our county’s veterans service officer, the commander of American Legion Post 108 and a Vets 4 Vets member. His daughter, Lilly Taylor, is suffering from aplastic anemia and is being treated at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, Ariz. Raymond Taylor has to drive back and forth, which costs hundreds of dollars a month plus there are, of course, other expenses. We hope that our contributions will help to sustain him and his family in their time of need. If anyone wishes to help the Taylor’s financially, there is a GoFundMe site at https:/www.gofundme.com/f/team-lilly-supporting-the-taylors.
Archuleta County Commissioner Veronica Medina spoke at our kickoff ceremony and the American Legion Post 108 Honor Guard for performed military honors.