Fortuna resident Pearl Frey turned 100 years old on Sept. 22, and the community came together and made not just one, but two of her dreams come true.
When Sue Moore of Visiting Angels found out that Frey wanted a helicopter ride to celebrate her 100th birthday, she decided she would do all she could to see that the wish became a reality.
Moore mentioned the wish at a Fortuna Chamber of Commerce mixer and the ball began to roll. "The entire community of friendly Fortuna came together and made this happen," Moore said. That was on a Wednesday and three days later when Frey was celebrating her 100th birthday at a party at the Los Amigos Club in Loleta, she received a certificate letting her know her wish had been granted.
One week after the chamber mixer announcement, Frey was fulfilling her dream and enjoying a half hour sightseeing ride in a helicopter, courtesy of Redwood Coast Helicopters and pilot Glenn Gunther. "It's something I have looked forward to for years and years and years," Frey said. The sightseeing tour took Frey over her house in Fortuna, down the Eel River past Fernbridge, out to the mouth of the river and then back.
Not only did Frey get a ride in a helicopter last week, she was also given a ride in a fire truck on the same day. CalFire was having a barbecue at the Rohnerville Air Base and agreed to give Frey the second special birthday gift.
Frey thoroughly enjoyed both the helicopter and fire truck rides. "She was elated," Moore said, referring to Frey, "she said she wanted to do it again when she turned 110."
Photo by Mary Bullwinkel/Beacon
Pearl Frey waves as she prepares for her 100th birthday gift helicopter ride.