PALM COAST, Fla. (WKRG/WOFL/BIKER DAD) — After learning a terminally ill teen’s dream was to fly a plane. A Florida organization jumped at the chance to make that dream come true. And, the Punishers Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club came along for the ride.
Austin Booth got the surprise of his life at the Flagler Airport in Palm Coast. The engine started and Austin and the pilot taxied down the runway and took to the skies. His mother Angie, watched it all, “an adrenaline rush, honestly, because you know, you’re terrified for your son to get in the sky but also amazing for the dream that’s coming true for him.”
She says Austin’s had to deal with a lot in his fourteen years. Doctors say he wasn’t even supposed to live past nine, “he has a lot of heart issues, he has lung failure as well and he has a lot of medical conditions that limits everything he can possibly do.”
One day a couple of months ago, the booths met Rex Tipton, a biker and commercial pilot, “i said ‘wow, why don’t we just get him an airplane, because he and I started talking about planes. He found I was a pilot so we started talking and I contacted Teens-in-Flights and made it happen.”
The Daytona Beach News Journal reports that the Punishers also took up the cause. Members of the law enforcement motorcycle club came from as far away as Alabama and New York to Escort Austin to his adventure.
Ric Lehman is the director of the Teens-in-Flight program, “we heard about a young man that had a variety of health issues, has a terminal diagnosis, and his greatest wish was to fly and that’s why we exist. So, that was an easy no-brainer, he’s up in an airplane flying it right now.”
But what goes up must come down, and eventually Austin’s plane landed. He says it was a wild ride, “it was pretty good, we saw some sharks, we went across the ocean, went to Palatka, and there was a lot of turbulence.” But he made it, and they even gave him some pilot’s wings. His mom was happy too, “for the Teens-in-Flight to do this for us is just amazing. I don’t know how to say thank you enough. I’m sure I’ve said it enough and they’re probably tired of hearing it, but I literally can’t say it enough to them.”
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Chris Best is the News Director for WKRG. He’s a husband and father of four. He’s also a motorcycle enthusiast.