by Airman Ashley Williams
121st Air Refueling Wing
4/14/2015 - RICKENBACKER AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Ohio -- Airmen with the 121st Air Refueling Wing here hosted a "new pilot" during their Pilot for a Day Program here March 19.
Ian Straight, a 12-year-old from Lancaster was chosen to participate in
the program, which allows youth with chronic or life threatening
illnesses the opportunity to enjoy a day of military experiences.
"This is our second one we've done and we try to do at least one every
quarter," said Capt. Cassandra Seward, the wing executive officer with
the 121st ARW. "We partner with Nationwide Children's Hospital and they
allow us to bring a child over for a day. Usually, we try to pick
someone who is either chronically or terminally ill, so they can spend
the day out here at the base learning what we do and seeing what it
would be like to be a pilot or an Airman for the day."
Ian was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia in March 2013, and after
four rounds of intensive chemotherapy he has been declared cancer free
for more than a year.
"It was a rough road, but we've made it through a large part of it and
we are so excited and thankful to move forward with the help of so many
people," said Jenny Straight, Ian's mother.
During the day, Ian was able to participate in multiple activities such
as wearing a flight suit, marshalling aircraft, touring the fire
department and much more.
"Today was awesome, he got to be an honorary pilot for the day with the
U.S. Air Force and we got to participate in all kinds of things," said
Todd Straight, Ian's father. "We can't thank you guys enough for the
experience and the memories we have from this."