Community flocks to 2nd annual Wings & Wheels for Meals event

LIBERTY — The second annual Wings and Wheels event proved itself as a community favorite for a second year. The warm and sunny weather made it an ideal way to enjoy the day. Upon approach, it was evident that the members of the Pickens County Airport Commission and Pilots Association are passionate about aviation and are proud to showcase the airport’s new facility.
In speaking with these individuals, it was also apparent that they are passionate about supporting their community.
“This is a great opportunity for the citizens of Pickens County to enjoy their airport, and at the same time support the Meals on Wheels program that serves their community,” said Skeets Cooper, airport director.
Admission was free, and more than 9,000 were in attendance.
“Because we were anticipating a larger crowd this year, we made several changes to include more aircraft, food vendors and more space for the showing of classic cars and custom motorcycles,” said John Garner, event coordinator. “We wanted to make sure that everyone had time to enjoy all the attractions offered.”
Throughout, J.D. Stone from Rock 101 WROQ, provided commentary on the day’s events. As people toured the airport grounds, he kept them informed and entertained.
Just outside the terminal, Alan and Jennifer Woods registered more than 140 classic cars and motorcycles for the public to view and admire. Each vehicle was vying for the award of People’s Choice or Best in Show. The People’s Choice was determined by the public as they cast a cash ballot in the donation box of their preferred vehicle. Kay Nicholson took home the trophy for People’s Choice with her metallic blue 1966 Chevrolet SS. Judging Best in Show were Steven Woods and Bruce Hawkins. The competition was fierce making it a difficult choice, but Steve Childs took the trophy for Best in Show with his 1932 Ford 3W-coupe. Receiving Best in Show for the motorcycle division was Chuck Baker with his 2005 Harley Dyna Super glide custom.
Across the tarmac, runway No. 2 was a bustle of activity. Because airplane and helicopter rides were so popular last year, this year, two planes and one helicopter were added to accommodate the need. Pilots Arly Asay, Tommy King and Jim Justice donated their flight time and aircraft for the enjoyment of the people. For seven continuous hours, three airplanes and two helicopters were in flight, delighting people of all ages with a bird’s eye view of Pickens County. Behind the scenes, volunteers Al Wilson, Tyler Bryant and Lee Quist orchestrated this flight sequence as planes and helicopters took off and landed in perfect unison.
On the ground were many static airplanes on display as well as the WYFF News 4 helicopter. In the hangar, many items were on display for raffle or silent auction, and all were donated by local businesses. The Raptors RC Club also displayed a variety of remote control aircraft and shared their love of this hobby with kids of all ages.
Between admiring the cars and watching the planes, spectators could enjoy lunch or snack. For a second year, the Masonic Lodge grilled delicious hamburgers and served ice cold drinks. Tony’s Restaurant of Liberty served pizza slices and Brusters Real Ice Cream of Anderson provided refreshing scoops of ice cream
“This year the Wings and Wheels event netted more than $8,000, which is the equivalent of 1,805 meals,” Garner said. “This will allow caring volunteers to deliver meals to more than seven people for an entire year. This is well worth one day of my life.”
“It takes the entire community to make Meals on Wheels a successful program,” said Meta Bowers, director of Pickens County Meals on Wheels. “Events like this are crucial for creating awareness for our program and senior hunger across South Carolina. There is a growing need in Pickens County, which we are working hard to meet.
“Currently, we have more than 450 volunteers. 22 are on the road each weekday delivering a hot, nutritious meal to 230 homebound individuals. Last year our volunteers delivered 50,912 meals, the greatest number in the history of the program.”
Pickens County Meals on Wheels is a 501 (c) (3) that relies on the generosity of the community to care for the homebound seniors and disabled.
“John Garner, Skeets Cooper, Alan Woods, Al Wilson, Amanda Dow, Arly Asay, Jean and Dean Thomas and Alan Warner deserve the credit for making this event so successful. Their compassion for serving their community is commendable,” said Bowers.