Argus-Leader from Sioux Falls, South Dakota on July 5, 2015 · Page E4
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Argus-Leader from Sioux Falls, South Dakota · Page E4

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Sioux Falls, South Dakota
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Sunday, July 5, 2015
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Page E4
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4E ARGUSLEADER.COM ● SUNDAY,JULY5,2015 29/90 LIFE time.” E ach runway in the program is a unique experience, with some made of grass or mud and others paved. A s a young boy, West wanted to see the cockpit of commercial planes whenever he flew on vacation. Now he’s finally in the pilot’s seat. “Every aspect of it is just amazing to m e, and it’s just an awe-inspiring perspective. You’re up there where no one else is,” West said. E ach Civil Air Patrol cadet is offered 10 orientation flights before he or she t urns 18. Most cadets spread their flights over several years, but Brandon —13 at the time — took much less time a fter he joined the program. “You get five rides in the airplane and five rides in a glider over your car eer until you hit 18,” said his mother. “He took his the first month he was here, and he was hooked on flying.” K arla joined CAP when her son did. He bought her a set of pink flying head- p hones for her birthday. The flights h ave been joint mother-son adventures. So far, the pair has visited 16 airports. g ency and landed back at the airport. It w as later found that one of the distributor coils in the right magneto, a part t hat’s essentially a generator that powers the engine, was loose. It’s a minor problem, one that Brand on said he probably would not have thought much of at the time if he knew what it was. “ It’s just one of those things where you don’t want to take a risk; you just want to get down on the ground,” he said. After flying to 20 airports, Brandon w ill receive a “bronze level” award, and after 40, “silver level” award. At each level, he also has to take a set of safety s eminars and visit air museums. The mother-and-son team rent the p lanes they fly from the Civil Air Patrol and airports, paying for fuel and maintenance out of their own pockets. They p lan to reach the silver level before Brandon leaves to attend college at the University of Minnesota, where he’ll m ajor in nursing. Brandon’s end goal is to get a doctorate in nursing, but he plans to stay in a viation and would like a part-time career of either doing corporate or chart er flying. He eventually wants to be- c ome a certified flight instructor. “I absolutely love it,” he said. A few months ago, Brandon was f lying out of the Watertown airport h eaded to Tea when the engine “started sounding rough.” He declared an emer- B randon began training for his pri- v ate pilot’s license in June 2013 at age 16. His flight instructor, Jordan Hull, s aid he was the first person to give Brandon an orientation flight in the Civil Air Patrol. T here is no minimum age required for flight lessons, but the Federal Aviation Administration does require stud ents to be at least 16 before taking solo flights and at least 17 before getting a private pilot’s license. “It’s a little less common nowadays to see young people taking flight lessons, b ut I think it’s coming back around,” Hull said. In the cockpit, Brandon showed no s igns of nervousness and was excited to start his lessons. After receiving his p ilot’s license, Brandon went to work for Hull at Legacy Aviation in Tea, where he still works. “ He’s a good kid. He works hard and he pays attention, and that’s important,” Hull said. “You kind of have to be hype raware around aircraft.” Since receiving his license, Brandon has taken friends to the Henry Doorly Z oo and Aquarium in Omaha for the day and has flown to other cities with his m other to have lunch. N ot all flights go as planned, however. JOE AHLQUIST / ARGUS LEADER Brandon West, 18, serves with the South Dakota Wing of the Civil Air Patrol. Pilot Continued from Page 1E long they will be where they shouldn’t be. In reali- t y, they are trivializing t he experience of those of us who depend on these h andicapped spots, who j ust have to wait just like this just about every day, who just have to shrug and tell all the drivers l ining up behind us that they, too, just have to h ang in there until we pull into the only space we can use. Often, instead, we just find another parking space elsewhere, farther away, one with an empty neighboring spot, and h ope that no one pulls next to it by the time we need to get back into the van. Since the accident that caused Karl to be in a wheelchair in the first place, I live in a world t hat was unknown to me b efore his disabilities — at least in an intimate, d aily-life sort of way. This l ife is now all I know — every single life choice is viewed through the lens of accessibility. N ow, however, I am aware that there must be s o many worlds I still don’t know. How many people struggle, face hardships or suffer either because of my obliviousness or my selfishness? Afoundational concept o f Roman Catholic teaching is the “preferential treatment of the poor.” Notre Dame’s Center for Social Concerns defines the notion this way: “As followers of Christ, we are challenged to make a p referential option for the p oor, namely to create conditions for margin- a lized voices to be heard, t o defend the defenseless, and to assess lifestyles, policies and social institutions in terms of t heir impact on the poor.” But this commitment t o the disenfranchised isn’t just a Roman Catholic bent. Interestingly, as Lutheran theologian Kristin Johnston Largen points out, ecumenical dialogue is moving to include not just conversa- t ions about doctrine, but “on dialogue that emphasizes shared commitments to works of love and justice … to mobilize religious communities to act together to combat poverty, injustice and e nvironmental degrada- t ion.” That’s because so many religious traditions s take out a claim on be- h alf of the vulnerable and the disadvantaged. It’s common ground across religious commitments. I t’s been said that religion is merely a crutch. S ome of us need more crutches than others, it is true. And, while we’re at it, some of us wouldn’t mind a bit more courtesy given for the space our crutches need. But two points here: 1 ) Although, obviously, you don’t need a religious belief system to have compassion and act on behalf of those who suffer, if you do have a religious belief system, dollars to doughnuts it inv ites the followers to h ave compassion and act on behalf of those who e ndure hardship and suf- f ering. One could argue that rather than religion being a crutch, it actually calls us to offer our c rutch to another who needs it more than we do. O r our parking place. Whatever. 2) Given a religious belief system, one is compelled to consider all words and deeds under the rubric of that framework. How does — or d oes — a given action/ priority/vote/comment/ parking choice reflect God’s intention for me, and for the other, in this moment? Religion, you see, is about more than just g etting into some safe, c omfortable, cushy parking spot in the afterlife. E ven now, in this life, it h as meaning, just like it does in the mundane parking lots you frequent, when you can use both l egs to just schlepp, just drop off, just dash in for a m oment and be right back. Freelance theologian Anna Madsen is director of OMG: Center for T heological Conversation in Sioux Falls. Follow her writing and speaking events at Facebook, Twitter and www.omgcenter.com. Madsen Continued from Page 1E of the organization come from many walks of life. The Sioux Falls Squadron’s 5 6 members include journalists, farmers, doctors and lawyers. “It’s a real mixed bag,” Erickson said. Of the 56 members, 22 are cadets. C adets are members younger than 18 who help on missions while learning a bout aviation. No military commitment is needed, although some cadets do go o n to serve. Nicole Schneider, an 18-year-old ca- submarines. T oday in landlocked South Dakota, the organization still plays a vital support role in everything from aerospace education to search-and-rescue operations. T here are 52 wings or groups nation- w ide, with one for each state and for P uerto Rico and Washington, D.C. In South Dakota, there are six squadrons, including one in Sioux Falls. “It’s just a way to give back,” Seten s aid. T he organziation helps survey for f orest fires, map cell towers so Air Force planes don’t crash into them while doing low-flying exercises, and photograph disaster areas such as in D elmont. They also help wildlife researchers t rack animals such as bison and mountain lions. “ There’s certain animals that they have collars on. They will have us go up w ith the tracker and ... find these animals — find these signals coming off t he animals,” Seten said. CAP pilots fly small Cessna 172s and 182s that allow them to go “low and slow” to complete missions. The South D akota wing has six Cessnas, all paid for by the Air Force. Nationwide, there a re 550 planes, making it the nation’s largest fleet of single-engine piston a ircraft. Capt. Jason Erickson said members det commander in Sioux Falls, said she might pursue officer training school a fter college. This fall, she plans to pursue a degree in political science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. “Just because of the experience I’ve h ad in CAP, being a leader has made me want to be a leader in the public later o n,” Schneider said. Lt. Col. Rick Larson joined the org anization when he was 12 years old. Now 53, Larson works as the installation emergency manager for the 114th Fighter Wing in Sioux Falls, as well as the v ice commander of the South Dakota CAP wing. “I continue to serve because I want to give back. I’ve led a pretty blessed life h ere, and I want to spread that seed unto other people as far as what they c an do to serve,” Larson said. “It’s service to the community, state and na- t ion.” MALACHI PETERSEN / ARGUS LEADER Civil Air Patrol cadets build model rockets during a CAP weekly meeting. MALACHI PETERSEN / ARGUS LEADER Civil Air Patrol members listen to a briefing before splitting into groups at a weekly CAP meeting. CAP Continued from Page 1E

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