|Published:||Aug 14, 2013 4:14 PM EDT|
|Updated:||Aug 14, 2013 5:14 PM EDT|
NAPLES, Fla. - Paula Wieland has been keeping a birthday surprise for week. Now, just one day before her parents move into a independent living facility, she's watching her father take flight.
"It's like a last hurrah," said Paula Wieland.
Roger Wieland, 89, is a World War II veteran.
"I didn't fly while I was in the military, I was a baker," said Roger Wieland.
But his daughter cooked up a surprise. With the help of a Facebook friend, she was put in contact with a pilot who would take her father flying for free.
"This opportunity that I have, to grant, if you will, the last wish of veteran makes me feel like I've accomplished something that my gratitude has been expressed properly," said M. Richard Mellon, the pilot and also a veteran.
Mellon is also a veteran. He learned to fly when he was 14, taught by his father, a World War II flight instructor.
"Being able to honor a veteran on the day that my father was born and knowing that he'd be looking down and saying, 'You did a good job, Rick,' makes me feel really good," said Mellon.
The two took off from the Naples Airport and flew for close to an hour.
"Wow, from the moment we took off, he had the biggest smile on his face, ear to ear," said Mellon.
The plane is a 1946 ercoupe. In fact it's the same plane Mr. Weiland once owned himself.
"I flew it for several years, took a lot of people for their first airplane ride, it was worth it," said Roger Wieland.
And he said Wednesday's trip is one he'll never forget.
"It was wonderful, astounding really. Everyday is a new adventure, every move is a new adventure," said Wieland.
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