Weather Forecast


Happy Hooligans make day special for young pilot

The Happy Hooligans are doing a great thing with their Pilot for a Day program that honors a child who is fighting or has overcome a life-threatening illness or condition.

The first event took place in 2005, but the program needed to be put on hold during the 119th Wing's transition in flying missions a few years ago. The program resumed last March, and Thursday, Feb. 23, will see the fourth "pilot" honored since that time at the North Dakota Air National Guard.

The special guest of honor will be a nine-year-old West Fargo boy, Jack Gellner, who has Type 2 Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a motor neuron disease that has resulted in him being wheelchair bound since he was a toddler. He was first diagnosed Sept. 10, 2003, when he was just 16 months old, and was using a power wheelchair by age 2 since he is unable to stand or walk and has limited upper body strength. He is also home-schooled to prevent him from catching colds that can quickly develop into pneumonia for him.

On this proud day for Jack, he will not only be promoted to an honorary general in the National Guard, but also receive his own flight suit, and have the opportunity to experience a wealth of activities with the Happy Hooligans - from a flight simulator to an airplane hangar to the fire hall.

And of course his parents, Rod and Kristi Gellner, and siblings, along with some friends, will join him for Thursday's activities, ensuring that a great time will be had by all.

A wonderful program for a very deserving young "pilot."

Kudos to everyone involved.