Having grown up in Connecticut, Liz Kelley felt compelled to visit the Memorial Tent on Church Hill Road after the 12/14 tragedy. While there, in January, she met Gloria Milas, whose daughter, Sarah, is an EMT with Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Corps. That was when Ms Kelley, who now lives in Massachusetts, decided to do something to honor the first responders.
That something was vouchers for hang gliding lessons.
Remembering how hang gliding got her through grieving after her mother’s death, Ms Kelley raised all the funds for the vouchers herself through The Cloudbase Foundation. According to its website, the foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization made up of paraglider and hang glider pilots from around the world who are committed to giving back to the communities where they fly.
Hang gliding will take place at Morningside, a Kitty Hawk Kites Flight Park, in Charlestown, N.H.
Ms Kelley discovered what she calls “the world of free flight” in 2010 with a friend who was checking off items on her bucket list. Three years later, Ms Kelley is training for her hang gliding ratings.
“That ‘Superman’ feeling of flying in a hang glider can be empowering, a stimulation of all of one’s senses. The thrill of flight can be a rejuvenation, and a sense of accomplishment as well,” Ms Kelley wrote as part of her Cloudbase project page. In addition to the lessons, according to the same page, Ms Kelley hopes to share discussions about her flying experiences and how hang gliding can help with the healing process with not only first responders but also teachers and students (the latter with parental permission).
Last week, Ms Kelley, Mrs Milas and Ms Milas met with Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Corps Chief Kris Petersen and NVAC Secretary/Treasurer Kenneth Lerman to present the hang gliding vouchers. Ms Peterson has agreed to allocate them to the ambulance, the fire companies and police.
The hang gliding is done tandem style, with a certified instructor piloting for every participant. The experience is usually 20 minutes and “is a chance to see the world in 3D,” Ms Kelley said while at NVAC headquarters on August 7. The season runs March through Thanksgiving. Ms Kelley has arranged for everyone in Newtown to get a discount through the end of the year.
For additional information about Cloudbase Foundation, visit TheCloudbaseFoundation.org.