On Friday June 10 two pilots met together, on a beautiful sunny day at the Morgan Airport, to fulfill a dream for both. WWII pilot, veteran, and long time resident of Morgan, Don Anderton was met by a young pilot from Bountiful named Shawn Socha.
Shawn had met Anderton’s grandson Mike White. They discussed flying, as both of their grandparents had fought in World War II. It was then that Shawn mentioned a dream he had to fulfill a wish for his own grandpa. Shawn’s grandpa had one last wish before he died, and that was to go flying before he left this earth. Pilot Shawn was never able to fulfill that dream for his grandpa as he died before he could take that one last flight.
It was then that Mike mentioned the condition of his own Grandpa Don Anderton, whose health conditions are deteriorating, and whose dreams of ever flying again were gone. That sparked a thought for Shawn Socha who decided he could still fulfill the dream he had this time for his new found adopted grandpa Don Anderton.
Pilot Shawn explained to Don, (the retired military veteran and thirty eight years retired United Airlines employee), that he was fulfilling a promise he made to his own grandpa before he died. Don then replied, “Then I accept, on his behalf!”
The Mountain Green Fire department was on hand to do anything they could to assist. The crew helped Don Anderton with his oxygen tank, wheelchair and frailties, into the plane. Don’s great grandson Porter White also got to take his first ride in an airplane.
Don’s family and friends stood by as they loaded the plane. Don’s wife Afton sat in her wheelchair with tears in her eyes, watching as her husband went up in the air, something he has not done for years, contemplating his health conditions.
Don and Afton Anderton have been long time residents of Morgan and have served two full time missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, one to India and one to Nigeria. They both love to travel, and have enjoyed many vacations when Don worked for United Airlines. They are the parents of 5 children. Don served in Italy during World War II, as a Captain for the B-24 and BC-10 airplanes. He and his family have lived in Los Angeles, and Seattle, and moved back to Utah and have lived in Morgan for the past 41 years.
When asking him about some of his memories of flying, Don reflected back on a time he was a young pilot in training when he was on a B-24 navigator plane. He had with him a small crew flying from Pueblo Colorado to Milwaukee Wisconsin, or at least that was the plan. Someone had asked him how long the flight was going to be, and he said, “not long at all.” That was before he got lost in the air. Eleven hours later, he realized he had flown all the way up to Canada. He eventually led his crew to the desired destination.
At age 88, Don’s quick wits and sense of humor came through in this very endearing moment as the two pilots from different eras came together to fulfill the wishes of a lifetime. A very touching moment to see pilots from two generations fly together to the azure horizon.