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Pilot for a day
FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- Kevin Tsuchinda and Cameron Campbell recite the pledge of allegiance while accompanied by the 141st Air Refueling Wing’s honor guard April 18. These two boys were treated to an orientation through the 141st ARW’s Pilot for a day Program. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Master Sgt. Bob Thackston)
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141st ARW hosts Pilot for a Day event

Posted 5/2/2007   Updated 5/3/2007 Email story   Print story


by Lt Col Nancy E. Reid
141st Air Refueling Wing

5/2/2007 - FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- Pilot for a Day is one of the most inspirational events the 141st Air Refueling Wing hosts. The program is designed for critically ill and disabled children to get away from hospital and doctor visits, givng the children a positive and lasting experience with the Air National Guard. April 18 marked the fifth Pilot for a Day event for the unit.

Kevin Tsuchinda, 9, and Cameron Campbell, 12, gave a big thumbs up when asked if they enjoyed their aviation experience. Their day was filled with military bus rides, briefings, flight simulations, life support demonstrations and an introduction to aircraft maintenance.

Kevin, who was sponsored by the Make-a-Wish organization, has a rare and debilitating form of epilepsy called Doose Syndrome. He was having 100 grand mal seizures a day, prior to receiving an implanted pace maker device which has helped suppress most of the seizures. Despite his condition, Kevin is very ambitious and smart; he hasn't decided yet whether he will be a marine biologist or entomologist.

Cameron, sponsored by Spokane Shriners Childrens Hospital, has had 11 surgeries because of a tumor on his spinal cord. Cameron has endured many challenges with tenacity to accomplish great things. He excels in school; while only in the sixth grade, he scored at a twelfth-grade reading level on national tests.

Pilot for the Day always concludes with a special ceremony. Starting with the boys leading the 141st ARW in the Pledge of Allegiance, they were then sworn in as honorary unit members by Lt. Col. Mark Bahosh, 141st Operations Group commander. They received maintenance hats from Chief Master Sgt. Tom Jablonsky, 141st Maintenance Squadron, and were presented coins and membership to the Top-3 organization. The day concluded with Col. Greg Bulkley, 141st ARW Commander, pinning wings on the boys' flight suits ... and hugs and all around.

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