Eastern Iowa Men Flying Around the World to Fight Crippling Disease
Two men from eastern Iowa are trying to do several amazing things at the same time. They plan to fly around the world in the plane above in an attempt to help eradicate a horrible disease. They'll begin their 25,000-mile trek in a matter of days.
Just how incredible is what they're trying to do? Consider this: Only about 700 pilots have flown around the world in a light aircraft like the Cessna T210m (in the photo above). That's the plane John Ockenfels (below left) of Shueyville and Peter Teahen (below right) of Robins will climb inside later this week.
Both men are Rotary members... Ockenfels in Iowa City and Teahen in Cedar Rapids. Since "Polio eradication has been a primary focus of Rotary for over 35 years and continues to be a major initiative", they chose to raise awareness for ending polio as the benefactor of their adventure. They call the trip the Flight to End Polio.
Ockenfels and Teahen have a combined 90 years of experience piloting small aircraft. That's fitting considering the trip will take them 90 days. The two will fly for more than 165 hours, with 39 landings in 21 countries. The trip will cover 25,323 miles. It all begins this Friday, May 5 when they fly from Cedar Rapids to Portland, Maine.
The two men are paying for all costs involved with the trip, so 100% of donations go to the Rotary Foundation Polio Plus Program. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is turning each dollar donated into three dollars with a 2:1 match. You can donate here.
My late grandfather had a sister stricken with polio in October of 1940. She was 17 and in high school when she was impacted. She never walked again and spent almost her entire life from that point forward in an iron lung. She passed away at the age of 40. I'm donating to Flight to End Polio in her honor.
On behalf of everyone, safe travels John and Peter! You can follow their progress here.