Omaha area veteran gets to fly one more time thanks to retirement community program

Thanks to an Omaha retirement community, a Vietnam veteran pilot got the chance to fly again at 80 years young.
Published: Jun. 6, 2023 at 4:40 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Tuesday, a dream became reality for a Vietnam veteran.

Marine pilot Jon Breese is 80 years old now and he wanted to take the controls and fly again. Staff at the retirement community where Jon lives were able to grant his wish.

This isn’t the first time Jon has looked over his plane before takeoff. Airplanes have always been a big part of Jon’s life. When Jon was 23 years old, he was a Marine pilot serving our country during the Vietnam War.

An Omaha retirement community made a Vietnam veteran's dreams come true Tuesday.

“I was the crew on a KC-130,” Jon Breese said. “It’s a multi-purpose airplane Marines used exclusively and the one that we flew was built especially for the Marines. And it was used for aerial refueling.”

Airplanes and flying continued to be a big part of Jon’s life after the war, but years went by and that all changed.

“So anyway after I had the stroke I wasn’t able to fly anymore.”

Jon wanted to get up in the air one more time, and his new home, Crown Pointe Retirement Community, made that happen.

Staff at Crown Pointe started a new program for their residents called Tree of Dreams.

“This program is designed specially to allow us to get our residents into a position to fulfill their dreams that they’d either never had the opportunity, or would like to complete again,” said Elizabeth Wells with Crown Pointe.

For Jon, his dream came true. He’s back behind the controls and once again taking a plane up into the sky, and finding out his passion for flying never left.

“The airplane gets quiet and you’re just smooth and quiet and you’re sitting there and it’s a euphoric feeling you just feel something comes over you. It just takes any stress, it just drains it away.”

Jon got another chance to fly, he took the controls. He wasn’t happy with his landing, but he was very happy with the overall experience.

“It was absolutely fun, kind of brings up old memories and makes me long to get back at it.”

Jon walks away Tuesday with another flight, another completed mission and a dream come true.

Staff at the Crown Pointe Retirement Community say they have about a dozen other residents waiting for their dreams to come true, they range from riding a motorcycle for the first time to attending a Broadway play.