Tiffin man’s dream of flying fulfilled by senior center

The Willows at Tiffin’s “Live-a-Dream” program grants wishes to several seniors each year
The Willows at Tiffin’s “Live-a-Dream” program grants wishes to several seniors each year
Updated: May. 19, 2021 at 8:12 PM EDT
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TIFFIN, Ohio (WTVG) - A former pilot got a big surprise this month. Herbert “Herb” Mitson spent much of his younger years flying planes, piloting his own Aeronca Chief at the age of 19.

“I was going to college at Michigan State,” said Mitson. “I was coming home and my dad noticed that I was becoming a hermit. I was studying all the time, because I had to study. He suggested I learn to fly, and I was red hot for that. I said yeah, let’s do it!”

Fast forward a few decades, and Mitson is now a new resident to The Willows at Tiffin Senior Living Center. Staff asked him: If he had one wish, what it would be? Mitson said he has not been able to fly in over 50 years and would love to go up in the sky again. After hearing about his dream, Enrichment Director Tricia Thompson decided they should make that dream come true, and made a few calls to the Tiffin Airport. Brad Newman, who owns a 1978 Piper Warrior, responded that he would love to help. Tricia was able to document the trip on a video that Herb is able to watch and relive every time he is missing the sky.

“There were four people on board, and if it lifts up four people, it’s got to be okay,” remarked Mitson. “We took off no problem, but it was a little rough. We went out to Catawba Island, all the way out there. And I checked over the farms and I noticed they were very prosperous.”

“He was so anxious to get in that he was practically running to the plane, and we were like ‘Herb, hold on!’” said Thompson. “Anything to make our residents smile and grant their wishes and their dreams, we’ll make it happen.”

Mitson had such a good time, he even confidently remarked on how he could have easily piloted the small plane. “I figured I could’ve stepped in and flown that,” chuckled Mitson.

The Willows at Tiffin continuously provides compassionate care to their residents, and the Live-a-Dream program is one way they achieve this. To learn more about The Willows at Tiffin, please contact the campus by calling 419-443-0059 or visit its website at www.willowsattiffin.com.

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