'A great honor': Area veterans given 'Dream Flight' experience

’A great honor’: Area veterans given ’Dream Flight’ experience

WAUKESHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Since 2011, Dream Flights has been giving deserving veterans the chance to fly in a Boeing Stearman biplane, with over 6,100 flights to date. On Thursday, eight veterans living in Capri Communities throughout southeastern Wisconsin added to that total.

"Every year it seems like it's growing," said Jim Tarantino, CEO with Capri Communities. "It's an event that I just look forward to every year."

96-year-old Harry Richards is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, joining the force on the tail-end of World War II. He was all smiles once his two feet touched the ground following his 20-minute flight.

"Great experience. Very exciting," Richards said. "It's just a great honor. Just seeing all the beautiful scenery; it's so pretty when you look from way up there. The beauty is just unbelievable, what you can see."

Watching Richards on his flight was his son, Brian, along with several of his friends and caregivers from Capri Communities. The younger Richards was grateful to be there for his father's big day.

"Pretty special. It's really nice the way they did this. Very, very special," Brian Richards said. "It's fantastic, and for him being 96 years old, going in that plane, it was great. It was great. He enjoyed it."

Clarence Schatzman was filled with excitement as he waited his turn in the biplane.

"It's very wonderful. We were asked to serve our country and so we said, 'Alright, we'll do it,'" the Air Force veteran explained. "The veterans have done all kinds of things. We all had our little niche there that we did, so we can feel good about that."

Friday, nine more Capri residents in the Madison area will get the same chance to fly high in the sky, thanks to the generosity of donors helping make the Dream Flights organization a reality.

As for Tarantino, he's grateful his properties have been able to partner with the organization for the better part of the last decade.

"When you get to that point in your life, there's still more things to experience and this is an example of what that is," Tarantino said. "There's just this outpouring of support. It's one of the good things that is happening in our community and we're just so happy to be a part of it."

Those looking for more information on how to support Dream Flights can click here.

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