It took a little longer than expected — and may have cost slightly more than hoped — but for Oliver Javanpour, his cross-country flight to pay homage to veterans is a priceless experience.
The Ottawa man and his flight engineer, Terry Peters, landed in Sydney, N.S., Friday morning on board a vintage Stinson 108 aircraft he had purchased in Sidney, B.C.
Javanpour had flown the plane, which was built in 1946, from B.C. to Ottawa and further refurbished it. That first leg of the trip, he says, was in tribute to his father and neighbour, both of whom had fought in the Second World War.
Some 20 years ago, he had heard his neighbour tell stories of flying between Canada and the U.K. during the war, and it really stuck with him.
“The performance of those folks were incredible and they were instrumental in giving us the freedom that we enjoy today in Canada,” said Javanpour.
“In memory of them, I decided to do a private tribute and fly from west coast to east coast.”
He says that first leg was a really personal experience, but he wanted to do more for others.
So he decided to fly to Nova Scotia and raise money for Wounded Warriors Canada, a non-profit organization that supports ill and injured military members, veterans and first responders.
“I decided to support Wounded Warriors Canada because their motto really hit me deeply, which is, ‘honour the fallen and help the living,'” he said.
In a news release, the executive director of the organization said partnerships like this help them provide mental health programs.
“We applaud the efforts of Oliver and Terry for raising funds and awareness for our organization while doing their part to help ensure we always remember the service and sacrifice made by our Canadian Armed Forces members – past, present and future,” said Scott Maxwell.
Javanport had originally hoped to land in Sydney on Thursday, but poor weather conditions hampered the plans. Friday morning, he arrived in Cape Breton after a stop in Halifax.
“It was just such a fantastic country to be able to do this,” he said, shortly after landing.
“I’m really thrilled to be a Canadian and have the freedom that I have to fly across this beautiful country.”
Donations to Wounded Warriors Canada as part of Javanport’s trip will be accepted until July 27.