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7's HERO: 92-year-old former pilot takes final flight, proving you are never too old to dream

The "Never Too Old to Dream" program at Cottages Assisted Living provides opportunities for people who are in their final years of life.

CALDWELL, Idaho — It is never too late to dream, even in your golden years. The Cottages Assisted Living is making late in life dreams come true for residents. The facility has a program called "Never Too Old to Dream."

One of those dreams came true at Silverhawk Aviation in Caldwell this summer. 92-year-old Billy Wayne Chisum said he was so excited for his big day. 

"I'm feeling great," he told KTVB. 

He wanted to fly again. It had been about ten years since he had been up in sky. Billy was a pilot back in the day, his son Gary Chisum told KTVB. 

"He was in the Texas National Guard from 1949-1952 in Amarillo, Texas, and then he has been a private pilot literally his whole life," Gary said. 

Billy lives at Cottages Assisted Living now, and they have a really touching way of celebrating their residents. CEO Mark Maxfield told us all about it. 

"At The Cottages Senior Living, our mission statement is we treat people right. One of the ways we do that is with our Never Too Old to Dream Program," Maxfield said. "We get to know the residents so well, we know what they did in their life and what they want to do, and we kind of discover their last and final wish and we make it happen."

The "Never too Old to Dream" program provides opportunities for people who are in their final years of life, to do what they have always dreamed of doing. Gary said he knew just what his dad would love, to fly again, just like the old days. 

"I said look we need to take him on a helicopter ride," Gary said. "I said to my dad, do you want to do that? He said, 'oh my god I can't even wait.' He got all excited, he said 'I haven't been in a helicopter for years.'" 

Gary said his dad asked if he was kidding him.

"I said no, it's going to be a big deal,' Gary said. "You're going to love it." 

The Cottages and White Oak Hospice worked together to take Billy on one final flight.  

"I talked to him, and asked him if he was ready, and he gave me a thumbs up and said 'yes, I'm excited to be here.' Up there, I could see him looking around and he really enjoyed it," Maxfield said. "Very special for us to be able to do this one today."

Gary said it was so incredible to see his dad, who is a memory care patient, so happy. 

"Oh, he was tearing up with excitement, and that was the greatest thing we've seen out of him in a long time," Gary said. "He was just saying how beautiful it was, and how patriotic the helicopter was. It was painted like a flag, and he loved every minute of it."

Billy said he enjoyed every minute. 

"We had a good pilot, yeah, it was a smooth flight," Billy said. "It was all new to me, the scenery part of it." 

For Billy, his loved ones and caregivers, this flight meant the world. The Cottages is proving people are never too old to dream. 

For more information on this program at The Cottages, click here.  

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