We don’t often think of new beginnings happen when we are in our twilight years, but that is exactly what Clem Ferguson did. At the ripe age of 96, Clem fulfilled her lifelong dream of flying in the sky, honorarily. Clem had always wanted to be a flight attendant since she was a little girl growing up in Athens, Georgia during the depression, she wanted moreand she finally got it.
Second Wind Dreams helped her make her dream a reality by ensuring that she was able to train with Delta. Regardless of age, Second Wind Dreams wants seniors to fulfill their dreams and chase even those goals that they feel have passed them by. Even though Clem was in her older years, she had the heart of a kid, and pursued flight attendant school with the fervor of someone 1⁄4 of her age. She was taught what to do in case of an emergency, how to open the hatch of the airplane, and loved tending bar and delivering drinks to passengers. While she wasn’t able to actually get in the air, she was trained like a professional, and was given honorary wings.
Lisa Cryder, one of Clem’s instructors, said that Clem had the best sense of humor and gogetter spirit that she’s seen. Clem never thought that she’d see her dreams come true after a fall nearly 10 years ago that left her wheelchairbound, and thought it was even less likely after she was forced to move into an assisted living home. However, Clem never gave up, and while she never thought this dream would come true, she was ecstatic that it did!
This isn’t the first time that an airline has celebrate those with older wings. Previously, Delta helped make both a Tuskegee Airman and their very own steward, Robert Reardon into honorary members and, in the case of Mr. Reardon, real stewards. Virgin Atlantic also jumped on board in an effort to diversify their staff, and welcomed Katrine Haynes into the air, at the age of 59 years old. It is a true testament to the human body’s ability to never give up, no matter what. I can’t say how much I personally admire these brave women and men, with their ability to never give up, and always reach for the stars.
It just goes to show, no one is too old for fairy tales.