‘It means everything;’ 92-year-old veteran gets to take unexpected Dream Flight

Dream Flights travels the country taking veterans on rides in a World War II-era plane.

News Center 7′s Xavier Hershovitz was in Champaign County where a local veteran got a ride he wasn’t expecting.

It was an early morning for 92-year-old Navy veteran Robert Replogle.

His daughter Gayle Walker watched alongside Replogle’s wife as he took to the sky.

But she had to admit, he wasn’t supposed to be here.

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“I thought they put us off for a month or two or three,” Walker said.

Dream Flights were in town for the Centerpoint Energy Dayton Air Show.

That’s when Walker saw her chance.

“I saw their booth and went up and talked to the lady there. She said, ‘Well can you go Tuesday?’ Absolutely,” Walker said.

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They planned to take eight veterans from Springfield Masonic Community up for the ride of a lifetime.

“It is set in stone. We are kind of limited. We don’t always have the support system or the pilots to do it in extra flights,” Jenny Lynn, Dream Flights team member said.

But when it came to Replogle, Lynn said it was the “right place, right time.”

“We’re so happy with that,” Lynn said.

As Walker watched her dad soar through the sky, she was grateful he got to be the exception to the rule.

“It’s very, very special. It’s because I know it’s special to him,” she said. “I know it makes him feel good and appreciated and that people recognize the sacrifice these guys made years and years and years ago for us.”

That is the goal of every Dream Flight.

“It was awesome, it was great, what more can I say,” Replogle said. “It means everything ... I couldn’t ask for more.”

A gift that wasn’t supposed to happen but was meant to be.

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