It was a day of non-stop grinning for 11 year-old Jacob Sypert from Niles, Ohio, the latest “Pilot for a Day” at the 910th Airlift Wing in Vienna.
From the moment he was sworn in as an honorary Air Force Reserve 2nd Lieutenant, Jacob was flying high. He got to wear a personalized flight suit, man the water cannon of an Air Base fire truck, and ride in the cockpit of a C-130 aircraft.
It was a welcome relief in his ongoing battle with leukemia that’s seen many ups and downs.
Throughout his journey, which he’s being treated for at Akron Children’s Mahoning Valley, he’s had chemotherapy, a bone marrow transplant, several complications and a few healthy stints experiencing life like a “normal kid” along the way.
“I just love to see Jacob happy,” said his mother, Joy Sypert. “He’s been through a lot of hard times, so to see him smile brings out emotions that are difficult to put into words. He is so thankful and honored to have been chosen. It’s great that the Air Base does this for children with life-threatening illnesses.”
The Pilot for a Day program is coordinated through Akron Children’s Community Outreach, Education and Support Center in Boardman. In its 15th year, Jacob was the program’s 60th honoree.
“Jacob loved the entire day, and we could not get him to take off that flight suit,” Joy said. “He said his favorite part was being in the co-pilot seat of the C-130 and wearing the headset to hear what was going on as they got clearance to taxi down the runway.”