Non-profit allows local WWII veterans a chance to take flight

MEDFORD, Ore. —One non-profit is giving back to those who have given the most and helping some life-long dreams take flight. Dream Flights Foundation restores old biplanes and offers free rides to veterans around the country. I was there as two local veterans soared to new heights.

“[It’s] not something you get to do every day,” said Carl Anderson, WWII veteran.

The 95-year-old got to see the Rogue Valley from 1,000 feet up on Monday. Thanks to the Dream Flights Foundation, along with other sponsors. Mike Sommars travels the country to gives seniors a birdseye view.

“We just want to honor them for what they did,” said Sommars.

A pair of World War II veterans each got a turn in the cockpit for their flight. They flew in a 1943 Boeing Stearman, which was the primary training aircraft used during World War II.

“The sound of the radial engine is around engine maybe the smell of the old the gas, there’s something there that triggers memories,” said Sommars.

Anderson served in the Navy after being drafted during World War II. He comes from a military family, his father was a sergeant in the Army.

“We came out here to support the whole thing so he could get a thrill,” said Anderson’s son.

Anderson wasn’t the only lucky pilot, 97-year-old Chet Dan Forth took flight also. He served from 1942 to 1945 in the military police.

After taking to the air once more both veterans were thankful for the opportunity.

“I wish everybody could get the same experience really,” said Dan Forth.

Dream Flights have 1,000 WWII veterans signed up for its program across the country. To sponsor a veteran for a free flight, visit

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NBC5 News Reporter Jenna King is a Burbank native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Sports Business. During her time at the U of O, she was part of the student-run television station, Duck TV. She also grew her passion for sports through interning with the PAC 12 Network. When Jenna is not in the newsroom you can find her rooting for her hometown Dodgers, exploring the outdoors, or binging on the latest Netflix release.
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