Cover photo courtesy of Jack Brooks: Jack Brooks (left), Capt. Stefan Derewetzky (center) and First Officer Jessica Christofersen (right).
A few years ago, 13-year-old Jack Brooks was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, a type of inflammatory disease in the digestive tract. With frequent visits to the Iowa City Children’s Hospital, it gave him the opportunity to visit the nearby airport in Cedar Rapids (CID).
“You can say that plane spotting is just a hobby, but for me it’s a complete obsession,” says the 8th grader. Jack also visits Waterloo Regional Airport (ALO) to capture regional carriers like Envoy Air, private jets, chartered aircraft and small military planes.
His love of airplanes pushed him to download a flight simulator program on his tablet, and from that moment on, being a pilot was all he could think about.
“I am so glad that aviation came into my life at the time that it did, because it’s sort of an outlet for my emotions,” Jack said. “The aviation community is like no other — it’s supportive and embracing with wonderfully talented people.”
Jack recently got to meet some of the talented people that keep Envoy’s operation running. With the help of Captain Mike Rezich, Envoy’s Regional Chief Pilot North-ORD, Envoy was able to coordinate with ALO’s Station Manager, Brad Brown, so Jack could get a “cook’s tour” — or behind-the-scenes tour — of Jack’s favorite aircraft, the Embraer 145.
He was accompanied by Chicago-based Captain Stefan Derewetzky and First Officer Jessica Christofersen.
It was a dream come true for Jack to be able to have a private tour of one of his favorite aircrafts, meet Envoy pilots and discuss their work.
“It was AMAZING,” Jack exclaimed. “An aviation career is what I will be doing — no doubt, but what exactly do I want to do? I have always thought about serving my country, possibly in the US Air Force, but I have also always wanted to become an airline pilot.”
Right now, after going under rigorous testing, having regular procedures and eating a special diet to help control his disease, Jack is almost in remission. From a health standpoint, he feels much happier and healthier, and said that aviation has helped him cope during the tough times that no young person should have to go through.
Whatever Jack decides to do professionally in the future, Envoy hopes he stays healthy and that his love of aviation never fades.