Don Enns

Don Enns shows a copy of the program for the first  Reedley Aviation Night in April 1979.

Raymond McClure was a rock star, so to speak, on May 11 during the Korky Kevorkian Memorial Barbecue and Fly In at the Reedley Municipal Airport. The 94-year-old’s stories of his seven decades-plus of flying and his service in two wars was an inspiration to those who listened.

But he wasn’t the only source of inspiration and influence at the event. I present to you Don Enns, 87-year-old Reedley resident.

I’ve had trouble finding out how long the Kevorkian Fly In has been a tradition around Reedley. My dilemma was immediately answered when Enns came up to me holding an old souvenir program. It was dated April 7, 1979, and was a welcome to the Salute to Reedley Aviation Night at the Reedley Community Center. From this event came the roots of the annual Fly In.

Enns was a former member of the Reedley Airport Commission and has mentored hundreds of people over the years while giving them their first flying experience. i quickly found out the extent of that influence.

First, Denise Phariss, administrative assistant with the city, came up to us as we talked and said “Don gave me my first airplane ride.” Enns acknowledge that, and added that John Johnson, flight sciences program coordinator at Reedley College, also told Enns his first flight came with him.

As I took photos of Enns holding the program, Efrain Tovar of Reedley came up to us and asked if I could take a photo of him  and Enns. He handed me his smartphone and I snapped off a couple of shots. Tovar then said, “I love this man,” and said he was 10 or 11 when Enns took him on his first flight.

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