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  • Writer's pictureSun Country

Sun Country pilots elevate the Make-A-Wish experience

Updated: Sep 15, 2023


Sun Country Airlines pilots and Make-A-Wish recipient Neil Torbensen at airport
(left) Captain Bryan Strathy, (middle) First Officer Chuck Moberg, (right) Wayne Dionne, (furthest right) Neil Torbensen

On a recent flight, the journey was about more than just reaching a destination—it was also about wish-granting. We at Sun Country Airlines, along with our partners at the Make-A-Wish Foundation, are proud to share this story about an unforgettable experience for Neil Torbensen, a courageous young man battling a brain tumor, his family, and the crewmembers in the cockpit who helped make the day memorable.


Captain Bryan Strathy shared his heartwarming experience: “It was an honor and a privilege to fly the Torbensen family to Alaska. Having lived, worked, and found love in Alaska myself, I have a special bond with the state, and it brought me immense joy to be a part of this special trip.” He added that he was proud of Sun Country for maintaining strong ties with the foundation, emphasizing how these opportunities hold deep meaning for children and families facing challenging health battles.

Upon their arrival at the gate, Sun Country employees made every effort to make Neil and his family feel welcome. Captain Strathy took Neil under his wing, giving him a tour of the cockpit, explaining flight procedures, and even allowing him a seat in the Captain’s chair.

First Officer Chuck Moberg, who had the privilege to fly Neil and his family, reflected, “I am passionate about flying and love to share my enthusiasm with others. Make-A-Wish flights are special for me because I can share my passion for flying and give others a moment of joy and hope.”

Their collective actions resonated deeply with passengers and onlookers alike. Wayne Dionne, escorting Neil as a volunteer from Make-A-Wish, noted, “Brian knew the names of the family, expected them, and treated Neil very special. You cannot imagine; he went above and beyond.”

At the helm of the Pilot team is Chief Pilot Dan Reid, who emphasizes fostering a culture at Sun Country that centers on community and connection. Reid noted that his strategy lies in keeping, "open and positive relationships with the other departments of Sun Country Airlines, being engaged and personally involved with the activities and programs." He believes that their team's personal touch and commitment to this culture make these Make-A-Wish flights truly unique and memorable. Dan remarked, ‘It’s an honor to have a small part in something as special as Make-A-Wish and that is also conveyed by the crews that are involved as well.’

Through the leadership of individuals like Captain Strathy, First Officer Moberg, and Chief Pilot Reid, we hope to continue to transform routine flights into experiences brimming with humanity, compassion, and unforgettable memories. It's more than just flying—it's touching lives and making dreams come true.

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