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Combination Car and Aircraft Show Raises Money For Homeless Vets

A large helicopter sits on a runway.
Tom Flanigan
WFSU Public Media
A Chinook helicopter, one of the largest in America's military inventory, was among the aircraft displayed at Wings & Wheels

A combined car and airplane show in Tallahassee this weekend raised money to help homeless vets. The "Wings and Wheels" event also featured a real aviation pioneer.

Lt. Col. George Hardy flew with the legendary Tuskegee Airmen in World War II. His military career continued through the Korean and Vietnam wars. But during Saturday's happening at the Tallahassee International Airport, he was just as interested in the dozens of customized cars that were on hand.

"Well, it's great! I'm just impressed with the number of old cars that are here and the condition they're in. It's very impressive that you got all of 'em here. It's beautiful! I look at the engines and they're so new. I have a car and I've only looked at the engine a couple of times since I've had it," he laughed.

With energy and enthusiam belying his 96 years, Hardy met with hundreds of attendees throughout the show, recalling his flights with the famed "Red Tails" in World War II and his many combat missions in Vietnam. He also spoke about the challenge of being among the first African-Americans to be integrated into what had been all-white Air Force units as desegregation took place in the U.S. military after World War II. All of the money raised by the show went to the Homeless Veterans Stand Down organization.

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Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

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