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2009 Mercer County Dreamlift

Dreams + Dollars = Lift

Presenting the check
Club members presented a check to Sunshine Foundation chapter president Cathy DiConstanzo as storm troopers stood guard.

Guys in red jackets
Many cartoon characters roamed the event, but these kids wanted their photo taken with "the guys in the red jackets."

Officials applaud
Chapter and local government officials recognized and applauded donors, including our club.

Waiting for the crowd
Club members and the plane waited for the almost 200 participants planning to spend the day at Disney World in Florida.

The crowd arrives
The happy mob appeared and swarmed toward the airplane.

Loading up
Dozens of local police welcomed the crowd aboard.

One might guess from the name, Mercer County Radio Control Society, that members of the club fly model airplanes. And that would be correct, but it’s only part of the story. While we love to build and fly model airplanes, we’re also a service club. We feel a mission to give back to the communities in which we work, play, and live.

Several members of the club were up early Tuesday morning, May 5th, pursuing that service goal. Meeting before 7:00 at Trenton-Mercer Airport, they were there, in part, to lend moral support to the Mercer County Dreamlift. They were also there to make the club’s annual donation, which this year totaled $2,250. The Dreamlift, sponsored by the Mercer County Chapter of the Sunshine Foundation, takes seriously ill and disabled children to Disney World for a day.

The annual Dreamlift starts with a morning of festivities at the National Guard hangar at Trenton-Mercer airport. In addition to what appears to be most of the central Jersey police and fire forces, a nearly complete cast of Disney characters patrols the event. To be sure, Mickey and Minnie are prominent. But usually characters from the dark side and from other entertainment franchises can be seen as well. This year about half a dozen characters in red jackets posed with kids for pictures. It wasn't their reason for being there, but who could deny a couple of kids who want to be photographed with the guys wearing those bright red jackets?

Since it began supporting the Foundation’s Dreamlift, our club has contributed well over $30,000 to the effort. The club raises money for its donation primarily through food sales at its giant-scale model air show, the Jumbo Jamboree. Held every year on Memorial Day Weekend at the club’s field on the edge of Assunpink Lake, the air show features radio-controlled flying models, most with wingspans exceeding 80.

This year the air show will be on Saturday and Sunday, May 23rd and 24th. The public is invited to attend. Admission and parking are free. Signs directing attendees to the field will lead from Exit 11 of highway I-195. The field, about two miles north from the exit, is in Assunpink Wildlife Management Area on the edge of Assunpink Lake. Flying will begin each day at 9:00 AM and will continue through early afternoon on Sunday. Breakfast, lunch, and snacks are available at the field. Proceeds from food sales and donations collected at the field will fund the club’s 2010 contribution to the Sunshine Foundation.