In Polson, model airplane enthusiasts are taking to the skies this weekend as a fundraiser for the Montana chapter of the Make a Wish Foundation.
Eric Kendall wanted to make a difference. He got the chance after he saw the son of a family friend get diagnosed with a liver disease and had a wish granted by the Make a Wish Foundation.
"What I saw, what it did for his family, I wanted to do something for Make a Wish," explained Kendall. "I fly model airplanes and I said well why don't we have a fun fly just to see how much money we can make?"
So in 2011, Wings for Wishes was born. The fun fly draws in folks from all over the Northwest who engage in friendly "dog fights" and show off their skills. Participant Christopher Sellmann has been flying model airplanes for 24 years and donating to Make a Wish for 14. It's a way, he said, to combine his two passions.
"When the child understands what's going on and can forget about illness and what's going on in his or her life, that's what it's all about. That's what we're here for," said Sellmann.
Kendall says since the start of Wings for Wishes, two more chapters have been established in Washington and Virginia. Altogether, the three have raised over $16,000.
"If we can find model aviation enthusiasts that are willing to step up and do the work - and it's a lot of work - we'll get them involved," said Kendall.
Flying model airplanes can be a fun hobby, but it's the folks who come out to Wings for Wishes who truly know that their hobby can be channeled to help out kids in need.
"We're all rallying. We're all having fun with our models and flying," explained Kendall. "In the end we know a child is going to benefit from this. So that makes all the work worth it right there."
The Wings for Wishes event continues tomorrow at 9am in Polson.