HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Dozens of people got to experience the joy of flight at the Stennis International Airport on Saturday. A Mississippi program, targeted at helping people with disabilities, came to the Coast for a fun day in the air.
After undergoing a surgery that almost took his life, ex-pilot Linwood Nooe became determined to get back in the air. He saw an opportunity to take a wounded Marine up in his plane, and couldn't pass it up.
"When I saw how much it lit him up, I just knew I had to do some organized events," said Nooe.
He created Operation PROP or People Reaching Outrageous Potential. With this program, Nooe was able to bring people together to experience the thrill of flight.
Greg and Dawn Minor came out to provide a memory that would last a lifetime.
"We're really excited for them. In fact, I'm kind of teary eyed over it," said Dawn.
This is the first time their sons, Brandon and Lance, have been on a plane.
To help with nerves, Lance invited his girlfriend, Lauren Floore, to join them on the flight.
"I was a little nervous," said Floore.
"We were both a little nervous," Landon said in agreement.
They weren't the only ones.
"Well, I was kind of nervous and excited at the same time," said Olive Carter.
Olive was there with her step-mom, Lori Carter. Lori says this event is something everyone should get to do at some point in their lives.
"This is a big deal for anybody to get to ride in a private plane," said Lori.
Along with the flights, there was also a meet and greet with Warren Cleary. He is a member of the U.S. Parachute team, despite living with a spinal injury he sustained during a jump almost three years ago.
"Just because you may be confined to a wheelchair or a crutch or a cane or something, doesn't mean you can't do everything you want to do," said Cleary.
More than 150 people came out to the airport to enjoy the day on the runway. Operation PROP hopes to make this an annual event at the Stennis International Airport.