The Liberty Gazette
November 28, 2017Ely Air Lines
By Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely
Mike: Joshua Knowlton is a helicopter mechanic in Oregon. More than that, he’s a dad to a ten-year old girl.
It’s been an active fire season in the west, and Joshua’s services have been critical for keeping firefighting helicopters flying. All summer he’s supported a Bell 407 for the Bureau of Land Management Helitack crew from Moab, Utah. In the long hours away from home, he promised his daughter a trip to Disneyland when dry season was over.
And a friend? Sure, a friend, too. While this upped the costs, Joshua was happy to have the friend along. But then he got to thinking. The friend has twin twelve-year old sisters. He couldn’t leave them behind—their family is homeless.
Joshua reached out to a compassionate world with a GoFundMe campaign for $1,000 to offset the extras. Genuine and unpretentious, he’s just a dad who wanted to do what felt right. The world felt good about his intentions. Swarms of people cheered his efforts, piling $1,800 on him. As a result, four young princesses enjoyed an escape, did whatever they wanted, laughed and played, carefree.
The happy, tired, crew of five returned from Disneyland last week. For the parents who trusted him with their three daughters, and donors who trusted him with their money, Joshua documented a grand vacation on Facebook.
Joshua: They met Anna and Elsa from Frozen, and other characters, and ate about a month’s rent worth of churros and ice cream. I’m not sure if they ever get full.
They rode the “Guardians of the Galaxy” twice, the roller coaster a good half dozen times, the “Grizzly River Run” five straight times, the Ferris wheel, the swings, the metal zeppelins, the “Soarin’ Around the World” ride twice, and I can’t remember everything else.
Seeing their reactions was pure magic. When we exited the “Soarin’” ride they compared goosebumps on their arms. They wanted to fly. I told them that ride was a lot like flying a helicopter and they could do it if they wanted to, that good things take work, and excuses are garbage. You only fail when you stop trying; the world owes you nothing, gives you nothing. Don’t let anyone slow you down, hold you back, trip you up, or clip your wings. Most of all, don’t let anyone waste your time. We are given a finite amount of time on this earth. Use it wisely; do something worthy of those precious minutes.
Linda: Joshua is a member of Women in Aviation, International, and encourages women to explore opportunities in aviation. And for his daughter and everyone else’s, he’s keenly interested in fighting child sex trafficking. Joshua’s humanity-focused stewardship through the amusement park vacation is not the end of his story. He says he’s called to do so much more to help people.
Joshua: This trip was designed to provide magic and wonder for these girls, and a couple days away from life’s hardships. It worked. Serving others makes me feel better than anything.