CUTLINES: Residents of the Discovery Village At The Forum community were honored with historic, tribute flights in authentically restored, WWII-era biplanes.
Fort Myers, FL September 30, 2021 – Surviving World War II heroes from the local community took to the skies on Wednesday, September 29th as proud recipients of honorary, Dream Flights in restored WWII-era Stearman biplanes.
The flights were conducted by non-profit organization Dream Flights, and were part of Operation September Freedom, the largest US barnstorming event of its kind, which aims to recognize and honor brave individuals who defended our country in WWII. Operation September Freedom will run from August 1 through September 30, with Dream Flights planning to fly nearly 1300 WWII veterans in cities and towns across the US in that 60-day period.
Among the very first participants were Ray Jansen and J. “Ham” Collier, residents of Discovery Village At The Forum, whose parent company, Discovery Senior Living, recently began a three-year partnership with the Dream Flights organization. Jansen, age 96, served in the Army and Collier, age 97, served in the Marines. The veterans were two of several area veterans to enjoy honorary Dream Flights, which commenced from Page Field, 5200 Captain Channing Page Drive, Fort Myers.
Both Discovery Senior Living and Dream Flights have spoken about Operation September Freedom quite possibly representing the nation’s last, great opportunity to honor WWII veterans and capture and share their stories with future generations. Of the 16 million Americans who served in WWII, only an estimated 100,000 remain living today, with the youngest WWII veteran being age 95 in 2021.
About Discovery Senior Living
Discovery Senior Living is a family of companies that includes Discovery Management Group, Morada Senior Living, Discovery Development Group, Discovery Design Concepts, Discovery Marketing Group, and Discovery At Home, a Medicare-certified home healthcare company. With almost three decades of experience, the award-winning management group has been developing, building, marketing, and operating upscale senior-living communities across the United States. By leveraging its innovative “Experiential Living” philosophy across a growing portfolio of almost 12,000 existing homes or homes under development, Discovery Senior Living is a recognized industry leader for lifestyle customization and, today, ranks among the 10 largest U.S. senior living operators and providers.
About Dream Flights
Dream Flights is a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to honoring seniors and military veterans by providing them the experience of a lifetime. Created and founded in 2011 by Darryl and Carol Fisher and the Fisher family, the organization provides 20-minute Dream Flights in its fleet of restored Boeing Stearman open-cockpit biplanes, the same aircraft used to train many military aviators in the late-1930’s and early-40’s. Dream Flights also helps veterans tell their stories, close the generation gap, and help promote a clearer understanding of ourselves and the world. Dream Flights’ newest initiative, called Operation September Freedom (OSF), is designed to specifically honor surviving WWII veterans throughout a two-month mission to fly as many of them as possible from August 1 through September 30.
J. “Ham” Collier, Darryl Fischer – Founder and President of Dream Flights, Ray Jansen
Ray Jansen signing the tail of the plane. J. “Ham” Collier signing the tail of the plane.
Heidi LaVanway, Vice President of Marketing
HLaVanway@DiscoveryMGT.com | 239.301.5330