Helicopter ride for birthday girl, age 99

May 21, 2012 at 4:21 PM
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CHIPPEWA, Pa., May 21 (UPI) -- Georgene Barto, about to turn 99 and saying "I've been waiting a long time for this," got her birthday wish: a helicopter ride.

The 30-minute ride Sunday, which began with the helicopter hovering a few feet off the tarmac at Beaver County Airport, near Pittsburgh so Barto could wave to family and friends, toured over Ohio River and the town of Conway, where she lived for most of her life, before returning, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Monday.

"It was wonderful! It was beautiful! I am so glad I did it. Thank you to everyone," Barto said after the flight.

She will be 99 years old May 29, the newspaper said.

The flight was part of the Second Wind Dreams program at the facility where she has lived for four years, Elmcroft of Chippewa Senior Living Community. Residents are asked for a wish to be fulfilled, Elmcroft public relations director Melissa Chambers said, and after fishing trips and golf outings had been arranged for other residents, a helicopter ride was a surprise, and a first.

Ron Spiker of Spiker Helicopters in nearby Zelienople, Pa., agreed to provide the trip at no cost, and after the adventure, the birthday honoree returned home for celebratory ice cream, the newspaper said.

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