Family donates flight on B-25 to region WWII vet

2013-08-21T18:15:00Z 2013-08-22T13:36:15Z Family donates flight on B-25 to region WWII vetChas Reilly chas.reilly@nwi.com, (219) 662-5324 nwitimes.com
August 21, 2013 6:15 pm  • 

Dave Lee was selected by chance to become a B-25 bomber pilot during World War II, the 88-year-old Schererville man said.

On Wednesday, Lee again boarded a B-25 for one more flight.

While serving in the U.S. Army Air Forces, Lee was part of a group that was asked to produce seven volunteers to fly on B-25 bombers, he said. He was one of 12 people who stepped up to the request.

The name of each candidate was put in a hat, and Lee was "one of the lucky" people selected for B-25 training.

"If you were any crew member on it, you fell in love with it," Lee said of B-25 bombers.

Lee again received an opportunity to fly on a B-25 on Wednesday. It seems chance also played a role in getting him on the plane.

Pat Hawkins, of Highland, didn't know Lee until recently.

Her husband is a WWII buff, and she took him to the Air Zoo in Kalamazoo, Mich., in July for his birthday to surprise him with a flight on a B-25.

After the trip, the family headed home, and Hawkins picked up senior citizen publications she regularly obtains for her mother.

She flipped through them and happened to come across an article about Lee's life and his love for B-25 bombers.

Although Hawkins and her husband didn't know Lee at the time, they decided they wanted to pay for him to take the $400 flight on a B-25 at the Air Zoo.

Hawkins contacted the Residences at Deer Creek senior living facility in Schererville, where Lee lives, and coordinated the trip.

"It's the least we can do to thank someone for what they went through," Hawkins said.

Lee said he was surprised by the gift because he didn't know the Hawkins family at the time.

"There's some really nice people in this world," Lee said.

Hawkins and her husband met with Lee last week to talk to him about his service in WWII.

"He said he dreamed of flying one more time," Hawkins said.

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