(Courtesy of Alejandro Cuellar)
We were all enriched last week with the story of Bat Kid, the five-year-old who beat cancer and wanted to be a superhero. So San Francisco turned out last Friday to make Bat Kid a superhero. Nice story. If only they all ended that way.
Alex Cuellar of Colorado dreamed of becoming a pilot; he mowed lawns to raise money for a ride at the local airport. But then he was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor. He didn't lose his love of flying and while visiting a man who was building his own plane, he mentioned he'd like to visit Oshkosh someday, the largest gathering of pilots and planes in the world. The airplane builder put out a call for help and within a few weeks had raised enough money to take him and his father to Oshkosh.
He sent his Van's Air Force friends this note after the week-long endeavor:
Going to Oshkosh was a lot of fun; I sat in Johnny Depp's seat on the Tri-motor, got to fly in the one of a kind B-29, saw George Lucas with the Tuskeegee Airmen, and got see so many great Airplanes. The coolest part of the trip was the B-29 ride, because it had such a great view from the gunners position on the top and in the back, and you could feel the history of such an aircraft. It was the type of plane that is terrifying and peacemaking at the same time.
You all made this trip so Amazing and you will forever be in my heart.
I was hosting a daily talk show in Oshkosh and pulled him, his dad, and two RV pals who organized the effort in for a chat.
On Saturday, a memorial service was held for Alex; he died on November 9. A group of Denver-area pilots organized a fly-by in the missing man formation in the young man's honor.