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September 16, 2014

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September 16, 2014

My name is Robin Rhodes, I’m an Aviation Resource Manager in the USAF, but more importantly I'm Tyrell Rhodes mom. Tyrell was a 2012 Able Flight student. His interest in aviation began at a very young age. Ty has lived on or near Air Force base his entire life. Almost daily he would go outside to watch the planes fly over our house. He enjoyed coming to my job so he could talk to the pilots, play with all their flight equipment, and going to the annual airshow was always a treat for him. When he was about 5, we were discussing what he was going to be for Halloween, of course Ty said a pilot. As he got older, I hoped he would change his mind, which never happened. I didn't have the heart to tell him that being a pilot probably wasn't going to happen for him because he was born with Cerebral Palsy. Boy, am I glad I never did!
When he heard about Able Flight, he did some research, and then applied. I will never forget the excitement in his voice when he called me to tell me he was accepted into the program. The day after his High School graduation we made our way to Purdue University and his life hasn't been the same since. The experience has made Tyrell more confident and has encouraged him to pursue a career in the aviation industry. Currently he is in his second year of college studying Aviation Administration, with goals of being Airport Commissioner at O’Hare International Airport. Tyrell made lifelong friends and mentors during his 6 weeks at the Able Flight program.
This organization is absolutely phenomenal! It's literally, a life changer! Hats off to all the instructors, volunteers, board members, donors and last but not least, Mr. Stites for all that you do to ensure this program continues to be a huge success. Your commitment to your students has not gone unnoticed. Thank you for allowing my son and others like him the opportunity to accomplish their dreams.

ABLE FLIGHT ROCKS!!!

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When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

September 10, 2014

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September 10, 2014

Able flight has made a monumental impact in my families lives with their program. My husband, a disabled veteran, participated in the program this year (2014) and the experience completely changed the trajectory of our lives for the better. Kurt (my hubby) had dreamed of flying his whole life, yet after his disabling accident, he thought he would never be able to achieve that dream. He was depressed, dejected and had been wondering what to do with his life. The Able flight program brought life back into his eyes. The completion of the program presented more opportunity to him for career choices and a REAL FUTURE! There is NO other program (of which I am aware) that does more for the alternately abled community than Able Flight. Charles Stites and His beautiful wife, Sue, have put together one of the best non-profit organizations I've ever seen. How awesome a vision to provide hope and a future to those who previously thought their usefulness had come to an end? I LOVE able flight!!!!
September 10, 2014

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September 10, 2014

As a Flight Instructor for 40 years, I have trained new pilots from 16 years to 71 years old, and recognized that each learns in a different way and each presents a challenge to guide them to their goals of becoming a pilot. Until I heard of Able Flight, I could not comprehend the challenges of people with disabilities making it through their everyday activities, muchless learning to fly an airplane.

Since meeting Charles Stites and many of his scholarship winners, I have a new and expanded view of not only the physical capabilities of these folks, but also their indomitable spirit that just needed an Able Flight to carry them to new heights in their lives.

I could not think of a more valuable charity to donate, for the simple reason that it absolutely has changed the lives of so many. Being a veteran, I am especially concerned about the returning Wounded Warriors, and ask that my donations be directed to these scholarship winners.

At the annual Able Flight awards ceremony each year at the EAA Airventure Air Show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, I am overwhelmed by the spirit of those who "earned their wings" through the Able Flight program. Just think about what they are thinking -" I cannot walk, BUT I CAN FLY". It's emotionally overwhelming!

Charles Stites has really discovered with Able Flight the "greater good" we all search for in life, but rarely is our search fulfilled. He does spectacular work, and the aviation world is a better universe because of him and his efforts.



September 5, 2014

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September 5, 2014

I first heard about Able Flight last summer and thought that it was a good program that helped spread the word about aviation and an opportunity to help various individuals achieve a dream they thought was impossible. It wasn't until this past summer when I was able to be volunteer as a flight instructor for the organization, that I realized that it was more than that.

I can say that I am extremely glad and honored to have been able to participate in this organization. I have been able to not only spread the love for aviation to those that participated in the program, but also have helped them achieve their dreams, an opportunity that I would never forget and that I would do so again in a heartbeat. I have also learned so much about instructing, life, and myself. Participating in this organization has helped me become a better person.

Able Flight is an organization that changes the lives of those that get involved in it, from the individuals selected to participate to the volunteers. Of course, it would never be possible without the hard and undying work of those "behind-the-scenes" individuals that continue to work to keep the organization going and being what it is, i.e. Charles Stites.

After this year, I know that I want and will continue to participate, help and be part of this great organization.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

August 27, 2014

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August 27, 2014

Able Flight is a absolutely a GREAT non profit organization! They really care about the people that they are helping, which is disabled people wanting to become pilots. To some that may sound weird, a disabled person with a goal of wanting to fly an airplane? but to them that is a possible candidate into there professional program that they have. I was ecstatic to learn that Able Flight was going to make my dreams come true when they gave me the chance to finish my flight training. Sitting on the ground thinking about your disability won't get you anywhere, and if you have ambitions of soaring in the air, then take the challenge of a lifetime and contact Able Flight and get your wings so you will be ABLE to know that you are just as ABLE as anyone else!
August 26, 2014

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August 26, 2014

As a volunteer with Able Flight, I was rather unsure of what I was initially getting involved in. Having never taught outside of the one program I was employed with at the time, I didn't know what kind of support I'd have, and what the environment would be like.

After my first year
instructing, I knew that Able Flight was a program that I wanted to work for, or at the very least, support in the future. At first, I though that it was just a nice program that taught people with physical disabilities how to fly an airplane. I later realized how much this program did to change the lives of the people that were lucky enough to be selected. Both years that I have helped out, I have seen the fantastic opportunity that this program provides, and the many good people that become a part of this program, from the students, to the instructors; from the donors, to the directors.

For the last two years, all of my personal highs have occurred when working for this program. If I may be so bold, I believe that I may have learned more about instructing and about myself than the students learn during the course of the summer portion of the program.

But enough about me; this program would not exist without the stellar work of Charles Stites, the head of the program. He has 100% commitment to Able Flight but probably more. Whenever I speak with him, I can tell how much he cares for the program, the students, and the volunteers. He is the most supportive and hands down best director that the Able Flight program could hope to have. He will get whatever needs to be done, and take on obstacles, no matter how big or small, for the furtherance of the program. However, more importantly, he will do whatever it takes to create the an environment that best lets the students succeed. And successful he has been with the 100% success rate that Able Flight enjoys.

There is nothing I can say that has not already been said by countless others: the Able Flight program is, as far as I am concerned, the best nonprofit in aviation and deserves to remain a top nonprofit in the country. Thank you Charles, for allowing me to be a part of this outstanding program.
August 23, 2014

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August 23, 2014

After completing the Able Flight program, I have made not only myself proud, but my family and friends as well. Growing up with cerebral palsy, I have always been told that I couldn’t do certain things. Able Flight gave me the opportunity to prove all of those who have doubted me wrong. I have always dreams of becoming a pilot after growing up on Air Force bases and seeing the fighter jets fly over my backyard. I thank the Able Flight program as well as the donors and sponsors because if it weren’t for them, we might not have had this opportunity. I hope that others will continue to apply to the program so that they can experience a major confidence boost, as well as earning a pilot certificate and making lifelong friends. None of this would be possible without the donors and sponsors, so I would hope that the donations would continue as they are giving life changing gifts and experiences.
August 22, 2014

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August 22, 2014

One of my favorite things is to watch the transformation that happens in the lives of Able Flight program participants. Each summer, 6 people appear at the Purdue airport to participate in the Able Flight flight training; they work very hard, and depart weeks later as changed, empowered and confident pilots. They stand, or sit, a little higher when they leave.

It's not just those 6 individuals who are changed and enriched. The families of the flight students, the Purdue student flight instructors, and anyone who connects with the program all benefit. I talk about Able Flight frequently - with my kids, friends, students, and family - almost all of whom take our own health and even mobility for granted much of the time. I'm very proud of each of the program participants and instructors, and grateful to the Able Flight executive leaders. Charles Stites is one of those rare people who makes great things happen for others. Able Flight is a top tier nonprofit organization.
August 21, 2014

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August 21, 2014

As a flight instructor for Able Flight, I had a tremendous opportunity to help teach others with disabilities to fly. In my experience as a flight instructor, I have never worked with more dedicated students. All of the students and instructors stuck together as a group the entire time while we were in the airplane, in ground school, or just hanging out.

Not only were the students awesome, Able Flight as an organization was behind us the entire time. For example, when we had a maintenance delay with an airplane, Able Flight made sure that we had the part there as soon as possible to finish the students. Their dedication to the students is made apparent by the fact that every student going through the program at Purdue has finished earning their license.

I made friendships that I know will last a lifetime, and teaching these students taught me a great deal as well. Watching my student take off on his first solo made every bit of work worth it. It really allows the student to leave their disability on the ground, and lets them join every pilot in feeling some of the greatest freedom in the world. I would definitely recommend this organization!

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

August 19, 2014

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August 19, 2014

I have had a dream of flight and of working in the aviation industry since I was a child. Right after I started my flight instruction, I lost my arm in an accident in the Navy. I thought my dream had been forever removed from possibility. Able Flight showed me that my life wasn't over and that my dream was still possible. They gave me the training and confidence to start a new life for myself after the old one had been destroyed. I now have my Sport Pilot certificate and am currently enrolled in an FAA Flight Dispatcher program at Universal Weather and Aviation.

Able Flight has forever changed my life for the better. Charles Stites is AMAZING at what he does and I will always be grateful that he took a chance on me. He nurtured my aviation passion and ensured that I had everything I needed to succeed. It was tough and it was hard, but it was also fun and rewarding and confidence building and worth every minute! If I can fly a plane with only 1 arm, there's nothing I can't do.

A word about the sponsors: MARVELOUS! I met so many wonderful people that support this program. Matt at Bombardier was such a joy to meet; he felt like a long lost friend that had my back and would always be there for me. Chris and the gand from Sennheiser were the same, even to the point of inviting me to share their rental house during the rain at Oshkosh when I was afraid that my tent had flooded. The staff and students and Purdue University were so good to me during my time there that I didn't want to leave. John and Bernie are so very supportive of my aviation dream and we are keeping in touch as my current training progresses.

My time was such a flurry of activity that I'm having trouble remembering everyone I met. The folks at AOPA, Aero Shell, Foreflight, and Landmark Aviation were incredible. Very supportive and personable. Jet Aviation, Embraer, Signature Flight Support, AVweb, and King Schools were also very generous and are part of something of which they should be very proud.

I am sold on Able Flight and believe in it 100%. When I finish my current training and take my place among other aviation professionals, I will begin the task of paying back and paying forward the gift with which I have been blessed. I hope to soon return to Able Flight as a ground (or even flight) instructor and return the financial blessing I have received so that others will be able to experience this, too.

If you have a disability and don't think you can do this, THINK AGAIN! I was constantly amazed at what I was able to do and you will be, too. APPLY! It will rock your world.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Do nothing. There are no changes necessary. All I can do is try to convince others of the worthwhile nature of this organization. Thank you again!

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How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

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