AFA Helps Bring Pilot for a Day to Nellis AFB
March 31, 2022 | By Amy Hudson
ARLINGTON, Va. (March 31, 2022) Nellis AFB, in conjunction with the Air Force Association (AFA) and The Check-6 Foundation, hosted Willians “Willy” Urrutia-Meija, Jr., 12, for a Pilot for a Day event on March 29, 2022. Willy and his family joined Airmen at Nellis AFB for a grand tour of aircraft and facilities, learning about the Air Force and its many missions and career fields.
Pilot for A Day provides critically-ill youth with the opportunity to experience a “day in the life” of an Air Force pilot and create lifelong memories with their family. As an honorary pilot, Willy wore a flight suit with personalized patches provided by The Check-6 Foundation.
A couple of years ago, Willy became a UMC Children’s Hospital patient after suffering an accident that caused a brain infection. Since then, Willy and his family have shown resilience throughout treatment and recovery efforts. This middle schooler does not let his accident get him down, however, as he continues to share his favorite activities with his siblings like listening to music, cheering on the Las Vegas Raiders, and riding his scooter.
“Wheels Up for Willy” was a special event that AFA’s Thunderbird Chapter, near Nellis AFB, was able to spearhead with the Airmen on-base, as well as The Check-6 Foundation. The chapter provided gifts and tokens of appreciation to Willy and his family and assisted with the coordination of this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
“Check-6 has over 15 years’ of experience helping veterans and kids battling serious illness,” said Mike Knapp, The Check-6 Pilot for a Day program director. “While we’ve conducted 30 Pilot for a Day events at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, we recognized that there was a real opportunity to expand ‘the good’ we provide by partnering with the Air Force Association and their local chapters to expand these events nationwide.”
AFA is honored to give back to these families and to have our Airmen and Guardians lead the way for support in their local communities.
An independent non-profit association, AFA is the single-largest professional military association dedicated to air and space power and to the advancement of aerospace education at every level. Founded in 1946, AFA is dedicated to promoting dominant U.S. Air and Space Forces as the foundation of a strong National Defense; honoring and supporting Airmen, Guardians, and their Families; and remembering and respecting the enduring heritage of the Air and Space Forces.
Check-6 is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to provide aid, assistance, experiences, purpose, inspiration and hope to children battling serious medical conditions and military veterans in need. To support the mission of Check-6 and for more information about Check-6’s Pilot for a Day program, visit the website at https://www.check6.org/pilot-for-the-day.