If you lived in Phoenix in the 1970s, '80s, and '90s, you saw a lot of Jerry Foster and his helicopter. Nowadays news helicopter pilots are nothing special, but Jerry was the first, and he did it in Phoenix, Arizona. I had lunch with him today, and while he was self-effacing and gracious, I knew that he was still a hotshot.
To my surprise, Jerry hadn't realized how much of a local celebrity he was. People on TV news are, of course, in the public eye, but they seem to be pretty much interchangeable. Jerry was one-of-a-kind. I remember Jerry.
Of course, when you meet a celebrity in real life, they tend to be not as tall as you had thought, and they're older. Maybe that's because we expect larger-than-life people to actually be ten feet tall, and to look the same way they looked thirty years ago. But in real life Jerry is every bit as dynamic as I'd imagined, and as for his age, he said it best in response to the statement "there are old pilots, and there are bold pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots", which was "Really?"
|Jerry Foster flying over Fountain Hills, Arizona|
Jerry was a bold pilot. He took a lot of risks, and I'm sure that there were times when he wondered if he would ever survive long enough to be a senior citizen. He did, and of all the amazing things he talked about today, that's what caught my attention the most today. He wears his age with pride.
If you don't know who he is, you can Google him, or you can read his book. If you do know him, and have fond memories, please make a comment here so he can see it. There was a time in his life when he thought that people had forgotten about him, and I know that was never true.
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