Rick Offers Plane Rides to Youths From Connie Maxwell Children’s Ministries

The Greenwood County Airport was buzzing with activity Saturday, July 17, with the roaring hum of two World War 11-era airplanes, piloted by Rick Mantei. In addition to the usual gathering folks, we extended an invitation to the youths from Connie Maxwell Children’s Ministries to take a ride in the vintage aircraft. “The project came about because Connie Maxwell does good work for children in difficult situations,” Wilcox said. 

Connie Maxwell Children’s Ministries, in operation since 1892, is a nonprofit organization providing stability and Christian-centered support to children and their families in times of need. From offering temporary residential care to emergency “crisis care” for children and teens in unstable home environments to providing shelter to entire families in need, the Ministries ensures that children have a safe, loving, secure environment during difficult times. It also facilitates foster care for children from tragic circumstances and connects them to good homes through community partners. 

Rick Mantei, who earned the Distinguished Flying Cross and multiple Air Medals during his tour in Desert Storm, was thrilled to get the opportunity to share his knowledge and love of flying with the youths from this much-needed ministry, giving them an exciting experience they’ll not soon forget. Even though the rides were limited to taxiing down the runway, as all the students were minors, none seemed to mind, excitedly talking about the experience as they clambered down off the wing. Speaking of flying, one youth told his friends, “I’m gonna do it one day. If I do it, I want to do everything, donuts and loops.”

Wilcox told the youths about the various updates made to the aircraft and a little about its history as they huddled around it, waiting for it to be refueled. “I know as a kid growing up, flying opened up a lot of opportunity,” Wilcox said. “It’s always fun to introduce kids to planes. You never know if they’ll get the bug. I got the bug.”
For more information about Connie Maxwell Children’s Ministries and how you can get involved, visit the website at https://conniemaxwell.com/.