A group of staff members and residents from CarDon & Associates’ Altenheim Senior Living Community recently dressed up in comic-book clothing for an act of superhuman heroism. The “Altenheim Avengers” pulled a 24-ton plane at the Republic Airways Hanger at the Indianapolis International Airport to raise awareness and money for nonprofit and charitable organizations benefiting the health of Hoosier children. (Since it started in 2011, the Republic Airways Plane Pull has raised over $3.6 million).
It turns out the residents who participated are superheroes at Altenheim as well. Byron Temple is a Vietnam veteran who was happy to add the plane pull to his repertoire of aircraft experience. (Byron was in the Air Force from 1962 to 1966, and he once flew on a tanker to refuel bombers over Vietnam).
Byron said the plane pull was more fun than he could’ve imagined, and it inspired him to get back to other physical activities he enjoys, especially ballroom dancing.
The plane pull exceeded resident Virginia Derolf’s expectations as well.
“I did not know it at the time, but that was a bucket list experience,” she said.
“When we were asked to invite residents, I knew Virginia would not give it a second thought,” said Lisa Peasley, Residential Director of Marketing at Altenheim. “She is very involved in our community and spreads positive energy everywhere she goes!”
Virginia dons many hats in the Altenheim community, serving as Treasurer of the Auxiliary Club, an employee of the gift shop and a member of the handbell choir. She also hosts a monthly game of Texas Hold ‘Em.
When asked if she will participate in the plane pull next year, Virginia did not hesitate.
“I am definitely doing that again!” she exclaimed.
The third resident who participated, John Kendrick, has the distinction of being the oldest of the three, as well as the oldest to pull the plane this year. But at age 89, he’s still as active as ever, hiking or walking two miles a day among other things.
After pulling the plane, John said with a smile, “Wow, what a feeling. I loved it!”
This time next year, you may see these residents and more pulling another heavy aircraft and lifting people’s spirits along the way.