BY MICHAEL METTS
Jeff Puckett is a helicopter pilot from Denver, Colo., who likes to share his love of flying with others.
Puckett regularly gives rides to Denver area pastors such as Age Sandoval of Tha Myx, a Free Methodist Church in Denver’s Sun Valley neighborhood.
“The first time I flew, my perspective was just shattered,” said Sandoval, referring to how unified Denver looks from the sky, even though it’s separated by gang divisions on the ground.
In recent months, Tha Myx has been able to partner with Tuckett by giving helicopter rides to 30 members of its Lifeline program, a ministry to gang members and residents at risk of joining a gang. Sandoval uses the experience to encourage participants to pursue their dreams and goals.
The participants, many of whom have never flown before, are often anxious.
“If you get them in the street, around guns and violence and stuff, they’re OK,” Sandoval said, “but if you get them around the helicopter, and they know they’re going to go up, they really start to panic and get nervous.”
However, once they’re in the air, they quickly forget their fears.
“It’s like becoming a kid again,” Sandoval said. “They’re just exuberant with joy.”