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Altus Airmen create special day for Hollis boy

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Kirby Turbak
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
Not every five year old gets the opportunity to ride in the front seat of a U.S. Air Force fire truck or sit in the flight deck of a multi-million dollar aircraft, but Jaxon Dugger isn't an average kid.

Jaxon was given the chance to participate in the Pilot for a Day program at Altus Air Force Base, which focuses on children with chronic or serious illnesses and is put together by the Sheridan's Foundation.

When Jaxon was two years old, he was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma, a cancer that affects the bones and soft tissue.

"All of a sudden one day we noticed he had left-sided weakness," said Cody Dugger, Jaxon's father, "They did an MRI and found a tumor on the ride side of his brain and that's what was causing his left-sided weakness."

Only two percent of the time is this type of cancer found in the brain.

Due to Jaxon's illness he isn't able to do many actives that other kids get to do.

"There's been a lot of things that have restricted what we can do but something like this is great," said Cody. "It helps raise awareness of childhood cancer."

Jaxon's day started off by being picked up at the main gate by a fire engine, where they took him to the 58th Airlift Squadron to put on the flight suit that he would wear for his swearing in ceremony and mission briefing, which detailed the day's events.

Next, Jaxon went to the 97th Operations Support Squadron where he tried on a pair of night vision goggles that pilots use for training and sat in the hanging harness simulator.

Jaxon had a pizza party at the base mini-golf course where he played on the splash pad and played mini-golf.

The Dugger family, who live in Hollis, then saw a military working dog demonstration at the 97th Security Forces Squadron kennels and headed to the flightline for a tour of the fire house, a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III cargo aircraft and the U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refueling aircraft.

The family ended their day by touring the air traffic control tower and getting to experience a C-17 simulator.

"It's only for a day but it's a nice break from whatever challenges they face," said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Trinidad Gutierrez Jr., who coordinated the day for the Dugger family.
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