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Former Rock County pilot with dementia sees skies again

JANESVILLE (WKOW) — A retired pilot got to see the skies again over Janesville, for the first time in more than 30 years.

Charlie Smythe has dementia and lives at Azura Memory Care in Beloit.

He picked up flying as a hobby, but hasn’t piloted since 1987. Azura helped make his dream to take another ride come true.

“I think we all saw him hopping back in that pilot seat. His face lit up a little bit. It’s really just putting him back in that moment where he experiences joy. And that’s what we’re capturing,” said Cassandra Zimmer, with Azura Memory Care.

Charlie took off with Elevation Air in Janesville on Saturday, flying high with his son.

“I think he was a little bit apprehensive about it, but the more I talked to him about it, I think he got more comfortable. When I told him he was going to be going up with a licensed pilot, that was a trainer, an instructor, I think that eased his mind a little bit,” said Jerry Smythe.

The flight was part of the Azura Mosaic Dreams program, which helps to make the dreams of its residents a reality.

[Photo courtesy of Elevation Air]

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