OTTUMWA — When the national media recently announced that the United States military was reporting a suicide every day, a local organization stepped up to make a difference.
On Saturday, the National Academy of Model Aeronautics, including the chapter in Ottumwa, will host a National Day of Flying. There will be 180 simultaneous air shows around the country and in England and Puerto Rico, and all proceeds from the events will be given to the Wounded Warriors Project.
"I was bothered that I couldn't do this by myself," organizer Joel Wilson, of Ottumwa, said. "But our organization has 225,000 members. By organizing an air show, we can show our good old southeast Iowa pride in our soldiers."
All activities will take place at the Ottumwa Airport with gates opening at 9 a.m. Saturday. An air show of model planes of all sizes will begin at noon.
General admission tickets will be sold for $5, and food will be served on site. In addition, there will be opportunities to fly trainer planes and enter a contest to win a ready-to-fly model plane.
In an effort to draw even more people to the event, 30 of the best pilots in the country will be on hand to participate in the air show. World-class pilots Chip Hyde and Matt Stringer will also be in town for the weekend.
After the day's activities, there will be a 6 p.m. concert at Courtside Bar and Grill, and the cover charge will also be donated.
Thanks to a number of local sponsors who stepped up immediately, Wilson says all proceeds from the event will go directly to the Wounded Warriors Project. The amount of money the group is expecting to raise hasn't really been discussed, though.
"There's no goal. We'd just like to know we helped one soldier," he said.