Saturday, May 12, 2012 -
Phil Blake, a World War II veteran, has
dedicated countless hours to maintain the
Veterans Memorial Park in Wichita, KS. Today,
fellow veterans helped grant him a wish.
"Makes me feel warm all over. Sometimes,
overwhelmed," said Phil.
It has been nearly 70 years since the former
World War II veteran built landing gears for
planes like the Cessna T-50.
"I used to occasionally go down to the flight
line and take a hop with the airplanes, the
T-50s when they were test flying them," said
Phil. "Always had a warm spot in my heart for
Fellow veteran, Herb Duncan, a US NAVY Vietnam
War Veteran overheard this. He got his fellow
volunteers in the Jayhawk Wing of the
Commemorative Air Force to help grant Phil his
"We make a lot of wishes come true. It's like
Make-A-Wish Foundation, expect we do it for
veterans, they do it for children and other
people with medical infirmities. So, we do it
for veterans and have fun," said John
Bartholomew, pilot with the group.
The Commemorative Air Force group is dedicated
to preserving and flying restored World War II
"A lot of veterans like seeing the old airplanes
fly again. The airplane is like a part of them.
They're reliving their youth, so they get the
option of trying it all over again," said
The 88-year-old Blake and his 24-year-old
grandson shared the experience together aboard a
1943 Vintage Cessna UC-78 Bobcat. "I'm really
surprised and excited that he's going to get to
go up," said Kyle Auchterlonie, grandson.
Phil said there are still a few things on his
bucket list and they mainly focus around the
place he loves to serve.
"I want to finish the veterans projects that I'm
working on now. The World War II Memorial is
almost complete," he said.