Escondido, CA

Local senior’s dream of returning to the air after 30 years comes true


Don Russell, a 94-year-old resident of the Kisco Senior Living Community Cypress Court in Escondido, with the help of the community’s “Dreams Do Come True” Program and Fun Flights Biplane Rides in Carlsbad– got to fly in a 1929 open-cockpit biplane again after a 30 year hiatus.
As a wild lands fireman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire), Ramona native Russell spent most of his 36-year career flying across the state in a biplane spotting wildfires and keeping communities safe. And thanks to Cypress Court – the local senior living community where he resides – Russell got to return to the sky last week after a 30-year hiatus.
Last Thursday, May 24, Russell and his son enjoyed a 30-minute flight over San Diego North County courtesy of Fun Flights, a local company that offers the opportunity to fly over the surrounding area in a 1929 open-cockpit biplane. His adventure was organized by Cypress Court Wellness Director Judy Lucous as part of the Kisco Senior Living Community’s “Dreams Do Come True” Program, Lucous’ three-year-old brainchild that is designed to help residents check items off of their bucket list.
“It was outstanding, it was thrilling, it was wonderful, it was great,” Russell said after his flight. “I’m so grateful for what Judy and everyone did to make it happen.”
Russell’s firefighting career started as a part-time job in high school and ended 36 years later when he retired as the department’s Division Chief. When Lucous learned about the unique experience Fun Flights offered, she knew that she had found the perfect opportunity to make the next dream come true.
“To see the absolute joy this program has brought Cypress Court residents and staff members alike over the last few years is incredible,” Lucous said. “Don has such a great spirit and represents our community so well. I am so happy we were able to grant him this wish.”
Cypress Court has made several dreams come true since the program was founded in the beginning of 2015. Russell’s was the first of 2018.
For more information about Cypress Court visit, or call 760-747-1940.

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