Aviation saves the day… again

The story, true from start to finish, could not have been written better. In fact, it could serve double duty as a math problem so many of us recall from our time in school.

A young high school athlete needs to be in two places at roughly the same time. On one end, in Toledo, Wash., to lay her 58-year-old father to rest following his year-long battle with melanoma. One the other end, in Yakima, Wash. (about 140 miles away) to play in the Washington State 2A Girls Basketball Championship game.

A car just won’t cut it. Not enough time. How will she do it?

Bearcat coach Henri Weeks reached out to fellow girls basketball coach Dori Monson, who also happens to host the “most-listened-to news-talk show in Seattle,” on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM and himself the father to three daughters.

On Tuesday, March 4, Monson hosted Weeks and W.F. West Junior Julie Spencer on his show. In an effort to get Spencer from Toledo to Yakima, Monson and Weeks knew they’d need a pilot with a plane.

As word spread, Kenmore Air president Todd Banks stepped up to the plate. A Piper Chieftain from the company’s charter business, with Chief Pilot Jeff Coleman, would be waiting for Julie following the funeral. A quick 45-minutes later, Spencer, along with family and friends, touched down at McAllister Field in Yakima where she was reunited with her team.

How’d the team do? Read and/or listen to Brandi Kruse’s story on Dori’s page on MyNorthwest.com.

Spoiler alert: The Bearcats won. Spencer led the way with seven rebounds and 20-points on her way to being named the tournament’s most valuable player.

Now, do yourself and your fellow aviators a favor by forward Brandi’s story to everyone you know. Airplanes are much more than toys for the rich. Airports are much more than noisy nuisances.

Don’t believe me? Just ask Julie.


  1. says


    This is a Good Deed that will never be forgotten by this Young lady, her family, The High School and Many more.
    Another opportunity and example of the transportation value of an airplane together with the willingness of the owner to provide the airplane and Pilot.
    Gift certificates for airplane Rides or Introductory Flying Lessons are educational.
    AL Beckwith

  2. Greg W says

    One half mile from the church to the airport, less than an hour later at the airport at Yakima. Only G.A. could pull that off. Great example of the use of the small airports and G.A. aircraft.

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