formerly "The View From Up Here"

Formerly titled "The View From Up Here" this column began in the Liberty Gazette June 26, 2007.

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May 27, 2008 Planning for "Hope Flies"

The Liberty Gazette
May 27, 2008

The View From Up Here
By Mike Ely and Linda Street Ely

Hopefully by now you’ve heard about the big event this Saturday, “Hope Flies”, the fly-in to benefit the family of baby Hope Neault. Liberty airport is the place to be this Saturday. We’re excited to be a part of this great community effort, by both the local ground-bound community and the aviation community. DPS Trooper Jamie Neault and his wife have been dealing with a lot of hardship lately, and it’s a good thing for us to rally round this family in support. We’re expecting some cool aircraft to show up and are grateful to auctioneer, Glenda Shannon, for donating her time to provide a live auction. The list of donors and sponsors is long, and each one is listed on the web site:

We especially appreciate the DPS Officers Association, City of Liberty, Liberty County Sheriff's Department, Liberty Fire Department, Liberty Police Department, BJ Ford, Liberty-Dayton GM AutoWorld, Oilfield Welding Services, Clawson’s Copy Shop, KSHN Radio, The Lions Club, Mims Meat, Prosperity Bank, Thrif-Tee Foods, Brookshire Brothers, WalMart, Liberty-Dayton Chrysler, First Liberty National Bank, BP Aviation Fuels, Carol Bond, Allison Funeral Homes, Sterling Funeral Homes, Stallion Oilfield Services, Shamrock, Arlan Foster, Joe Harrison, and Allen Youngblood, Melissa Griffin, and many others who are donating time, auction items, and other resources.

Here’s how it started. A bunch of pilots were talking about a fly-in. Then the news came about the Neault family’s situation. It tugged at their heartstrings and they knew it was better to serve others than just getting together for fun. Ken Wittekiend was the first to respond to the idea of auction items. A Master Certified Flight Instructor from Burnet, Texas, Ken heard about the situation and stepped up. “I’ll put up two hours of tailwheel instruction.” From there, Daisetta Police Chief, Les Holsey called to offer a thirty-minute “photo tour” in his helicopter, and Brandy Miller offered “the pick of the litter” of AKC-registered lab puppies. And the list is growing daily.

Mike: My hat’s off to the folks who’ve jumped in to help in this event. I’ll try not to scare anyone away but safety around machinery is always a concern at an event like this. Airplanes deserve the kind of respect and awareness shown around farm equipment. There will be airplanes on static display for folks to see. However, these are located near a taxiway and runway with aircraft using them. Children need to be controlled. Bringing animals is not encouraged and any there need to be on a very short leash. Please respect the established boundaries as they have been established for your protection. People should never walk across an active runway or drive unauthorized vehicles on them. Fly-in aircraft will be parking on the other side of the runway from the event and pilots and passengers will be shuttled back and forth by routes established to keep them clear of flight operations. We desire this event to be successful, fun and safe.

Mike and Linda can be reached at

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