(Tribune Papers) ASHEVILLE — A private aircraft climbed into a cloudless Good Friday sky, bound for the nation’s capital. Its mission: to fetch a local veteran back to spend his final days near his family.

The plane, which was given the call sign HRF (for “Hero Flight”) 65, is owned and flown by Asheville businessman Mike Summey. Also on board were reserve pilot Greg Byrd, and Dr. Kenneth Kubitschek of Carolina Internal Medicine who was volunteering his own time to act as accompanying physician.

The patient is retired Master Sergeant Michael Dishon, a 20-year Air Force veteran who was recently medevaced from Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, the army’s largest hospital outside the U.S. proper, to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington. Dishon suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and has now been diagnosed with terminal Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, an aggressive form of cancer that invades the lymph system. On arrival, Dishon will be transferred to a local hospice facility.

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