Thursday, May 5, 2011

Warren [Ohio] girl gets to be Pilot for a Day Warren girl gets to be Pilot for a Day

Eleven-year-old Ashley Moorhead offered an apt description after the turbo-prop engines of the huge C-130 Hercules aircraft fired up.

“It was real loud. We had to wear earplugs,” said an excited Ashley after being named Pilot for a Day on Wednesday at the 910th Airlift Wing at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station.

One of the best parts of her day was being taxied down the runway in the C-130, said her aunt, Tammy Moorhead.

The program reaches out to the community by providing a fun-filled day of activities to children who have a chronic health situation, said Maj. Brent Davis, head of the Office of Public Affairs for the 910th.

“The future of the Mahoning Valley rests with our children who will someday be the leaders of our community,” Davis said. “The 910th hopes to put bright rays of sunshine into the lives of children who may not be able to envision a very hopeful future at this point in their lives.”

Ashley receives treatment for cerebral palsy at Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley in Boardman.

The Willard K-8 School fifth-grader was sworn in as an honorary Air Force second lieutenant, the beginning of a day full of activities with the 910th.

Ashley rode on a base firetruck, called a super-soaker, received a genuine air-crew flight suit fitted to her size, and had a tour of the base that included a visit to the Life Support Shop and firing the Fire Arms Training Simulator.

“It’s a nice program. It was fun. Ashley doesn’t get to do a whole lot. Wednesday, she got to go and enjoy herself for a day,” Tammy Moorhead said.

“Taxiing in the plane was really fun. Not many kids get to do that,” Ashley said. “I got ‘dog tags’ with my name on it, and my name was on the plane right above the doorway. I’m going to tell my friends about it at school.”

Ashley loves music, and Justin Bieber, the 17-year-old Canadian pop singer-songwriter, is her favorite singer.

The Youngstown Air Reserve Station Base-Community Council is the program’s financial co-sponsor.

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