Open 24 Hours

On the Wings of a Wish: Vietnam Veteran Flies Again

Vietnam War Veteran’s Wish to Fly Again Comes True

75-Year-Old Soared Through the Sky in a B-24 Liberator Over Lake Michigan

On Friday July 27th, In Home Personal Services, along with sister companies Bowes In Home Care and Nex Gen Dynamics, made arrangements to get Larry back in the air.


Larry, 75, is a Vietnam War veteran pilot who resides in Prophetstown, Illinois. He was stationed in three locations: Guam, Thailand, and Okinawa. Larry flew 200 missions during his time in the Air Force during the Vietnam War. He flew 68 times in a B-52 and 132 times in a C-47.


Larry’s passion for flight was still as strong as ever. When In Home Personal Services President, Michael Collura, learned that an IHPS client was a Vietnam War veteran pilot and had a desire to get back in the air, there was no hesitation with helping to make it happen.


In Home Personal Services and Bowes In Home Care have been serving Larry for over a year now.


“Everybody that Bowes and In Home have sent in as medical and caretaking, they have helped us beyond what they are supposed to do and they’re our friends too. Larry hasn’t fallen as much if at all,” Bonnie, Larry’s wife said.


Thanks to great effort of Community Liaison, Lynne O’Malley for coordinating with the Collings Foundation’s Wings of Freedom Tour, along with Larry’s physical therapist, Carrie of Bowes In Home Care, taking a day off to aid in transporting him, Larry was on his way to fly again. Lynne, whose father was a WWII pilot and older brother who was a Vietnam War pilot, took this wish very personally and saw it out to the end.

On Friday July 27th at the Chicago Executive Airport in Wheeling, Illinois, Larry got his wish to be back in the air in a plane from the same era he flew in.


Larry flew in a B-24 Liberator. It is the only fully restored and flying Consolidated B-24J Liberator in the world!

With the assistance of his physical therapist Carrie, Larry was able to get into the plane. His daughter-in-law Machelle accompanied him on this once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Fellow sister company, Nex Gen Dynamics provided a film crew to record the experience.


“She [Machelle] has an adventurous spirit,” said Larry. “They put her in that airplane, and as soon we start flying, she goes zing, zing, zing, and goes everywhere. I couldn’t hold her down she was just everywhere on the plane.”


The flight lasted about thirty minutes from start to finish circling Lake Michigan, the lakefront, and the surrounding area.


Pictured: Larry Phelps with physical therapist Carrie (left) and daughter-in-law Machelle (right) in front of the B-24 Liberator.

In Home Personal Services partnering with the Collings Foundation to get Larry off the ground was simply amazing and a great collaborative effort. The Collings Foundation is a non-profit, Educational Foundation (501c-3), founded in 1979. Since 1989, a major focus of the Foundation has been the “Wings of Freedom Tour” of WWII aircrafts. The Foundation’s 1944 vintage Consolidated B-24J Liberator is painted as “Witchcraft”, an 8th AF bomber that flew a record 130 missions over Europe as part of the 467th BG. 

The B-24 fought for our freedom in the skies of Europe and the Pacific through the use of strategic bombing during the Second World War. In order to help preserve this history and honor the veterans who participated in the war, B-24 serial number 44-44052 has been restored to mint condition under the auspices of the Collings Foundation of Stow, MA.

In Home Personal Services offers benefits to Veterans seeking our services. The Aid and Attendance pension benefit is offered by the Veterans Administration (VA). If you or a spouse need assistance in daily living activities, then the pension allows you to receive additional monetary benefits if you qualify. With pension benefits you don’t have to have a service-related injury, you don’t have to be retired from the military, and you don’t have to be in combat. Having the aid of a caregiver can help you the veteran, or your spouse, live at home for as long as possible. You served us, now let us do what we can for you.

In Home Personal Services has locations in Illinois, Florida, and Texas.

If you or a loved one is in need of in-home care please contact us through our e-mail or call us at 877-826-4477.