The newest member of Team Luke left the base May 10 with a smile on his face. Steven “SteveO” Boyd, 15, visited Luke Air Force Base and became an honorary member of the 309th Fighter Squadron through the “Pilot For a Day” program.
SteveO, who suffered a left hemisphere stroke in 2011, has spent the past 18 months recovering from the effects of the stroke, which caused left-side paralysis, at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Originally from Holbrook, Ariz., he’s in the Valley with his mom, while his father lives and works in the family’s hometown 180 miles away.
Visiting the base with his parents, uncle and niece, SteveO met the 309th FS commander, Lt. Col. Stephane Wolfgeher, and then got dressed in a flight suit, which the squadron had personalized with a name patch bearing his call sign “SteveO.”
In addition to touring the 309th FS, the family visited the simulator and the fire department. SteveO’s favorite part, according to Capt. Bailyn Beck, 309th FS pilot and the PFAD host, was the simulator, which he described as a giant video game.
“He loved it,” Beck said. “When he left, he was definitely smiling more than when he first arrived. After we saluted him, he saluted back with a huge smile on his face.”
Beck volunteered to show the teenager and his family around because he has two sons of his own and said he can only imagine what it would be like to be in the Boyd’s shoes.
Luke’s Pilot For a Day program focuses on children who have serious or chronic conditions.