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Take a warrior ride in the sky

By Stephanie Santostasi, ssantostasi@wcyb.com
Published On: Jun 13 2014 09:54:02 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 14 2014 05:29:40 PM CDT

It's all a part of the 4th annual Military Salute Flights hosted by Elizabethton Airport to raise funds for the group Special Operations Warrior Foundation.

ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. -

It's all a part of the 4th annual Military Salute Flights hosted by Elizabethton Airport to raise funds for the group Special Operations Warrior Foundation.

A view like this isn't something you get to experience every day but for pilot Mike Tierney it's something he gets to do often.

Tierney says it's one of the reasons this is his third year volunteering at Military Salute Flights.

"Just meeting all the people that come through," Tierney says. "You meet the people that it's their first time flying or you meet people that have been up every year we've been doing it."

Elizabethon Airport General Manager Dan Cogan says they've been doing this because it's for a great cause.

"It's an organization that provides assistance to, immediately to, the families of fallen special operations soldiers and then also provides college education scholarships for these children later in life," adds Cogan.

The airplane ride comes in exchange for a $25 donation.

Over the past four years, the airport's raised more than $20,000 and they're hoping that continues Saturday.

"We're hoping to raise $5,000 again this weekend," says Cogan.

But it's not just about the donations, it's about educating people too.

"We love introducing aviation to the community. In the last 10 years, I mean literally we've given thousands of people in this region their first airplane ride," says Cogan.

And giving kids their first ride is one of Tierney's favorite things.

"Sometimes you meet kids that, you know, they just get excited when they get to see the wheels get to come off the ground," adds Tierney.

As for the cause, the Special Operations Warrior Foundation supports the special operations community and has two main functions.

It provides a full college education for the surviving children of those who lost their lives in service to this country and it provides immediate financial assistance to severely wounded personnel.

You can still help with the mission! The Elizabethton Airport General Manager says, weather permitting, they'll take people out over the lake Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on a first come first serve basis.