Pilots with purpose

Posted on Apr 07 2020 in Noble REMC
David and Laramie Resler stand in front of their Piper Cherokee 180, which they purchased together in 2002, and now use to take children on free flights through the Young Eagles program. Photo provided by the Resler family

Flying has been a part of David and Laramie Resler’s relationship from Day 1. Literally.

On their first date, David surprised Laramie by taking her up in the skies. That same night he would propose, and a few minutes later, she would say yes.

“He drives up to this little airport, he gets out and goes, ‘Do you want to go on an airplane ride?’ I said, ‘You can do that?!’ And he said, ‘Yeah, let’s go.’ So, we go,” said Laramie Resler. “Later that day, he proposed to me. The same day. He took me flying, and then he proposed to me that night.”

Forty-two years later, they’re still flying high.

Shortly after they married, David took a break from flying while they started a family and began their careers. But once the kids were out of the house and the couple had saved up a bit, he took up the hobby again, bringing Laramie along for the ride.

The Noble REMC members from Churubusco became active in the aviation community as part of the Experimental Aircraft Association, Chapter 2, and specifically as volunteers for the Young Eagles program.

Young Eagles’ mission is to introduce children, ages 8-17, to aviation with a free first flight at local airports, as well as other opportunities for future flight training.

David serves as a pilot, while Laramie works as the ground coordinator. Though she has her pilot’s license, she calls herself a “baby pilot” compared to her husband. She’s taken about 250 kids in the air.

Her husband? 2,384. That puts him in the top 10 of the 40,000 volunteer pilots in the Young Eagles program.

But the program wouldn’t be successful without the both of them together.

They’ve shared innumerable special experiences with the children: from taking two blind Amish girls on their first flight – feeling the wings beforehand and learning how the airplane feels as it takes off – to witnessing a normally active boy with autism remain calm and still from the moment of take off to the landing.

To them, it’s so much more than an airplane ride. It’s a way to educate children, and their parents alike, about aviation and its opportunities. 

Not all children will be inspired by the ride, but more often than not, the Reslers will be recognized years later by a child that’s now grown who has fond memories of the flight. But it’s especially heartwarming when someone’s so impacted that they make it their career, whether a pilot, engineer or something related.

“It’s fun to have all of these people pass through our lives. You get to know them a little bit and then they go on and do something else,” Laramie said.

“It’s a good feeling that we’ve done something good for them,” David said. “We’ve helped change somebody’s life.”

“Changed them for the good,” Laramie added.

And they’re not going to slow down any time soon. Young Eagles gives them a purpose in their flying, and David strives to fly 3,000 children before he hangs up the headset.

The couple is notorious for handing out business cards with the Young Eagles’ rally information on it at work, at an event or even when they’re out at a restaurant. It may seem persistent, but to them, it’s their passion.

They want to make sure that any kid who wants to fly gets the opportunity, even those that may be a bit hesitant.

“The ones that are the most apprehensive,” Laramie said, “are the ones that come back with the biggest smiles.”

For more information on the Young Eagles program, visit eaa2.org for a calendar of events or to register for a rally.