The Greenwood County Airport was buzzing with activity Saturday July 17 with the roaring hum of two World War II-era airplanes, piloted by Rick Mantei and John “Buster” Wilcox of Cola Wealth Advisors. In addition to the usual gathering of clients and prospective clients, Cola Wealth Advisors extended an invitation to the youths from Connie Maxwell Children’s Ministries to take a ride in the vintage aircraft. “The project came about because Connie Maxwell does good work for children in difficult situations,” Wilcox said.
Connie Maxwell Children’s Ministries, in operation since 1892, is a nonprofit organization providing stability and Christian-centered support to children and their families in times of need. From offering temporary residential care to emergency “crisis care” for children and teens in unstable home environments to providing shelter to entire families in need, the Ministries ensures that children have a safe, loving, secure environment during difficult times. They also facilitate foster care for children coming from tragic circumstances and connect them to good homes through community partners.
Rick Mantei, who earned the Distinguished Flying Cross and multiple Air Medals during his tour in Desert Storm, was thrilled to get the opportunity to share his knowledge and love of flying with the youths from this much-needed ministry, giving them an exciting experience that they’ll not soon forget. Even though the rides were limited to taxiing down the runway as all the students were minors, none seemed to mind, excitedly talking about the experience as they clambered down off the wing. Speaking of flying, one youth told his friends “I’m gonna do it one day. If I do it, I want to do everything, donuts and loops.”
John “Buster” Wilcox told the youths about the various updates made to the aircraft and a little about its history as they huddled around it waiting for it to be refueled. “I know as a kid growing up, flying opened up a lot of opportunity,” Wilcox said. “It’s always fun to introduce kids to planes. You never know if they’ll get the bug. I got the bug.”
For more information about Connie Maxwell Children’s Ministries and how you can get involved, visit their website at https://conniemaxwell.com/.
Rick Mantei is the owner and founder of Cola Wealth Advisors. Securities and advisory services offered through Centaurus Financial, Inc., a member of FINRA and SIPC and a Registered Investment Advisor. Cola Wealth Advisors and Centaurus Financial, Inc. are not affiliated. With the help of Kathy Nishnic, Atul Makharia, Lisa Mantei, Matt Hawkins and Cindy Chiellini, the team assists more than two thousand families in achieving their financial goals. For more information, please visit https://www.colawealth.com/.
John "Buster" Wilcox talks about the plane's history and shows how to refuel the aircraft.