( Find the Rallye in this picture.)
From and copyright the Monett Times – Monett, Missouri - Gratefully posted on Tall Tales Web Site with permission of the Monett Times.
August 01, 2001
Ready to fly high, campers from Camp Barnabas went airborne thanks to Challenge Air, a group of aviation enthusiasts who volunteer to show that physical limitations and illness don’t need to reshape a person’s goals and dreams. Above, volunteer Whitey Mettlach helped lift one of the wheelchair bound campers into A.J. Malnar's French plane at the Monett Municipal Airport for an excursion into the clouds.
[Times Photo by Murray Bishoff]
Challenge Air helps Camp Barnabas
Murray Bishoff - Managing Editor
Published July 30, 2001 4:00 PM CDT
Pilots demonstrate to children with physical limitations, illness that the sky is the limit for their aspirations
Children who go to Camp Barnabas, the camp for those with chronic illness or handicaps southwest of Pulaskifield, escape from daily lives of struggling with their special conditions for a week of life just like other kids when they come from across the nation for a stay in southwest Missouri.
Recently, Champions Week at Camp Barnabas was enhanced with another treat, a visit by Challenge Air and a chance to ride in an airplane
Camp Barnabas holds seven camping sessions organized around specific physical challenges. Champions Week was those facing physical and medical conditions, and their siblings. Many of the campers were in wheelchairs. They are the target audience for Challenge Air for Kids and Friends, founded in 1993 to give disabled children the opportunity to experience the world from a different perspective, from the air.
The founder of Challenge Air, Rick Amber, became a paraplegic in Vietnam. He wanted to show children that although they may be physically impaired, they can still do anything they want. "When kids see a paraplegic flying a plane, they realize they can do anything they want. All limits are self-imposed. Flying is a life-long memory," Amber said.
Every camper from Camp Barnabas came to the Monett airport where 11 pilot participating in the Challenge Air effort assembled with their planes. They were led by Theron Wright, a staff member of Challenge Air, who was himself in a wheelchair.
The children were treated by a parachute jump by Brian Hunter, a pilot for Jack Henry and Associates, leaping from Jack Fox's Stearman bi-plane. He landed in from of the city hangar before the children, many of whom raised their arms in an oval over their heads, touching their fingers in the gesture of a standing ovation.
Wright arrived, spinning about in his wheelchair with expert ease, and gave the children a brief tour of an airplane and the reason it flies. He told the group,"Regardless of any challenge or what anyone tells you, you can be anything you want to do and be. Your thing is, 'Yes I can.' "
Campers went up in planes accompanied by counselors, and returned smiling. "It was awesome," commented Cyndy Teas, co-owner of Camp Barnabas with husband Paul Teas. The Saturday was spent taking children up to 1,500 feet for a view of the world unencumbered by problems with personal mobility. Several dozen local volunteers were also on hand to assist the camp staff in supervising the loading, unloading, and coordinating activities on the ground.
The campers each received a Challenge Air T-shirt, a set of gold aviator wings, a flight certificate commemorating the achievement, and membership in the prestigious Experimental Aircraft Association's Young Eagles Program.
The Challenge Air visit was made possible through the efforts of Camp Barnabas, Challenge Air, and Jack Henry and Associates.
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