John Benson & Ann Penman

Shepherd Residents “Taking Off” After Their Dream Flight 93

Ann Penman & John Benson, both 93 years young, spread their wings and took flight on August 17, 2015 at 7:00pm at Ernie Hall Aviation Museum.

Ann Penman, an avid often speaks of one of her favorite books, Amelia & Eleanor Go for a Ride. The book tells the story of Amelia Earhart & Eleanor Roosevelt stealing away from a Whitehouse dinner & taking a plane ride around Washington D.C. in April of 1933. Penman was 11 years old when this happened and she was inspired by the women’s courage and adventurous spirit. She has always dreamed of flying in a small plane.  Wanting the story to inspire today’s children, Ann donated a copy of the book to the Howland Local Library.

“I think it will be fabulous to share this story with others- especially the kids,” Penman said.

John Benson was a trained World War II looking forward to protecting our country. Unfortunately, once he was deployed overseas, he was sent to army infantry.  They did not need additional pilots at that time.  Even though Benson was disappointed, he proudly served his country.  Upon returning home from war he married and became a minister, but he never lost his love for being in the sky.

“Everything is just wonderful up there.  It’s not like riding in a car, boat, or train.  It’s an amazing experience going places, seeing the world from a different point of view, and feeling the grace when tipping wings and going around in circles,”  Benson said.

Benson did not think he would ever fly again, however, when Shepherd of the Valley Activity Director Traci Luther heard his story, she was determined to get him into a plane. Further conversations revealed that Penman also had a dream of flying in a plane so Luther attempted to make it happen.

“Our community is located across the street from the Ernie Hall Aviation Museum so it seemed like a natural partnership. We are so grateful that they are willing to work with us and make Ann and John’s dreams come true,” Luther said.

Penman and Benson flew in a small plane on August 17, 2015.

“Get ready cause were going to fly like the birds,” Benson said. 

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