Several Johnson City youth were inspired to go above and beyond their circumstances when the local chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) gave them their first taste of flight on Saturday during "Rise Up! Fly Up!"
The EAA pilots took approximately 30 youth, ages eight to 17, and their adult mentors from Rise Up! on a short flight via private aircraft out of the Greeneville-Greene County Municipal Airport.
In all, about 50 people were treated to a birds-eye glimpse of the Greeneville area countryside.
The event was organized by 16-year-old Alex Williams, of Johnson City, as part of his Eagle Scout project. Williams is a student at Providence Academy.
Jerry Hope, a retired commercial pilot who leads the EAA chapter, assembled the volunteer pilots in conjunction with the EAA's national "Young Eagles" first flight program.
This event on Saturday was primarily set up for Rise Up! youth, mentors, and staff.
The Rise Up! mentoring program is a Christian organization based in Johnson City, whose vision is to holistically love, influence, and impact 500 under-resourced kids by the year 2020 through life skills training, mentoring, and a college education, with the expectation they will do likewise for others.
In addition to flying, the youth and mentors watched videos about flying, inspected the planes up close (including a World War II training aircraft under repair), and enjoyed lunch together.
Former corporate pilot Fred Beaver gave a brief talk about safety and how a pilot works.
Pilot Dan Miller, Director of Administration and Finance at Grace Fellowship Church in Johnson City, spoke to the group about becoming a pilot and how it shaped his aspirations for personal success, relating the connections between flying and having faith in Christ.
Boy Scouts from Troop 35 in Johnson City helped coordinate the "Rise Up! Fly Up!" event, serving lunch and assisting the youth.