“Rise and shine, Evan! Today, you and your family will need to arrive at Naval Air Station Fallon no later than 0730. Fleet training demonstration begins at 0800,” stated Evan’s newly-minted military itinerary.
His wish to go to Top Gun was about to come true. Evan – a fan of the movie “Top Gun” along with his older brothers – would gaze at airplanes wanting to reach out and touch them. At five-years-old, Evan knew his cancer diagnosis would not stop him from becoming a Top Gun pilot and taking control of a plane. He considered his wish to be a first step on his career path.
With the collaboration of Make-A-Wish® Eastern North Carolina and Make-A-Wish® Northern Nevada, Evan and his family travel to the Naval Strike and Warfare Center at Naval Air Station Fallon in Nevada to experience life as a Top Gun.
Evan enjoys a tour of the entire facility including a VIP tour of the flight line by a real flight instructor – Major Chip Berke. Donned in a flight suit, boots and mask, Evan feels right at home as he lives, eats and plays among his fellow Top Gun comrades for two days at the naval base.
“There were so many volunteers to help escort Evan and his family, but I was fortunate to get the job,” Major Berke says. “Evan tells me that I work for him. He even asked to be taken back to ‘his office’ a few times after leaving Base Admiral Mat Moffit’s desk.”
Towards the end of his visit, Evan and his family attend the Top Gun graduation ceremony. Here, the admiral presents Evan with an Honorary Top Gun certificate.
While attending the reception, Congressman Jim Gibbons arranges for a flag to fly over the Capitol in Washington D.C. in honor of Evan. The flag is then saved for Evan on his birthday.
“Evan takes after my own heart,” states the congressman. “He likes fast cars, fast airplanes and he knows what he wants to be when he grows up.”
This courageous wish kid touches the lives of everyone on the Naval base – creating memories to last a lifetime.