It’s been a big month for my Littlest Little. He’s being discharged from his occupational therapy program after meeting and exceeding all of his goals, he’s enrolled in a private preschool to begin his academic career in the fall, we’re in the process of setting up his 504 with said preschool which is more than willing to work with his sensory needs, and he’s really begin to take an interest in all things airplanes.

The last thing is fairly typical of a three and a half year old boy, but it’s slightly more significant for my Champ. Maybe not him so much as it is for me. lol. Ages ago I had the pleasure of meeting one of the pilots who flew a record breaking flight in the SR-71 among others. We didn’t get to know one another very well, but the few short times we spent together left me with several amusing anecdotes and his endearing quirks inspired me to make Champ his namesake. Although more than just his quirks that come from a lifetime of military service, what really stuck with me all these years later was his humility.

I honestly had zero idea of the scope of his aviation accomplishments until fairly recently. I knew he flew the SR-71 and I knew that he held one of the records, but beyond that I was pretty oblivious. Of course coming from a military family myself, everyone had their war stories. My uncles who served long tenures also accomplished notable feats, and my grandfather was a POW of WWII. Anyone in my life with an extensive military career was a hero by civilian standards. The Pilot never offered any of his stories, and I never asked.

In fact the few times we spoke he merely offered wise advice and inquired about my own career. He reconfigured and upgraded an old PC for me, noticed I was driving with a headlight out, and offered to replace it for me. Just the most random, mundane, Midwestern Suburban neighborly things to do. There was never any of the “back in my day…” moments even when he was offering advice. At the time it never really struck me as unusual, but after looking through the public information on the SR-71 program in an effort to teach my son why he shares a name with a random person he’ll likely never meet I’m even more impressed with such small insignificant favors and tasks the Pilot willingly did for me without complaint.

That’s how you know you’re in the presence of true greatness, and I hope to instill the same values in Champ as he grows older. He’s already very excited about everything to do with “his” plane. It’ll be neat to see what he does with the inspiration as he gets older and grows into his personality.