More than thirty kids with disabilities or illnesses got to fly through the clouds Saturday morning at Skylark Field in Killeen with the Flying Vikings.
Created by local pilot Paul Hansen, the organization is devoted to giving kids an exciting experience in the midst of life's difficulties. For Sandra Restivo, whose son is diagnosed with down syndrome, the event provides both excitement and encouragement.
"They get to be what they want to be and they don't get judged for it," Restivo said. "When they do sports with regular kids there is a lot of judgment."
On some days, Steven Restivo and the 31 other children with illnesses and disabilities are limited in terms of what they can do compared to their peers -- but not Saturday. Some of the children got to take control of the plane for several moments while it was in the air. Hanson said the program has grown dramatically since he began giving plane rides to kids fifteen years ago, and now travels the country with his organization.
"I started working back in Philadelphia in a mentorship program for at risk kids, it spread to kids with disabilities and then I said 'aww that's where I've gotta be,'" Hansen said.
Flying Vikings is able to run due to help from personal and corporate sponsorships. If you want to help the organization hold more events, go to flyingvikings.org.