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Omaha veteran relives dream of taking to the skies at 80 years old

Posted at 7:27 PM, Jun 06, 2023

MILLARD, Neb. (KMTV) — What if you could do something new or do something wonderful again?

Some seniors in Omaha are getting the chance to answer that question. 3 News Now Anchor Mary Nelson went to see one senior’s dream take flight.

The Millard Airport is the site of the first leaf on the “tree of dreams."

“Well, if you can dream it, you can do it. I guess that's kinda what the thing of it is,” said Jon Breese, veteran and former pilot.

Breese is a resident of Crown Pointe Retirement Community. His honesty is refreshing and relatable.

“You know, when you live in a nursing home, there's really not much going on if you don't play bingo, and you don't want to do the shuffleboard or whatever,” said Breese.

So, what a treat to have this familiar opportunity.

“Not every day you get a chance to fly an airplane when somebody else is paying the bills,” said Breese.

This dream first came true for him for more than 50 years.

“See, flying is more than a two-dimensional thing,” said Breese. “The g forces for going down there are different than the g forces for going up there, so you get a chance to feel all those sensations and it just makes you feel good.

He spent five decades as a pilot and instructor as well as building and collecting planes.

Breese flew for the Marines for seven years, including serving in Vietnam.

“Go out toward the Platte River and up the Platte a little ways, and come back around through the north side and come down the Missouri and come back here,” he said.

Before they took off, Breese shared a closing message about the power of dreaming, even at 80 years old.

“I think it's important because when you quit learning, you quit living. And you limit yourself. And if you say, ‘ I can't do that. I'm not gonna do that because it's too expensive, it's too time-consuming, it's too, too, too’” said Breese. “I think you can just limit yourself. And flying is almost limitless.”

Mary also heard about other wishes that folks had. One senior wanted to make a free throw at halftime of an NBA game while another wanted to go on a date with a cowboy.

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