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By Blog Master
Posted: 08/20/2022

Before Top Gun – Dick Myers, Naval Aviator

 It’s not hard to picture Dick Myers as a Navy pilot. He’s not as young as he once was, and he sure can’t see like he used to, but he still has the confidence and the zest for adventure that he had when he was landing fighter planes onto the heaving decks of aircraft carriers.  Dick joined the Pasadena Village after relocating to the area from his home in Texas. He quickly immersed himself in Village life, focusing his efforts on combating the effects of racism through his 1619 affinity group, and using his technical skills to improve our website. Pasadena Village Executive Director Katie Brandon has this to say. “Dick embodies the spirit of Pasadena Village - determination and a strong sense of purpose - which he applies every day to make our community more vibrant and visible. I am so grateful that he is a bridge between Villa Gardens and the Village as well as a dedicated volunteer, leader, and one of my close mentors and friends."

Pasadena Village is an intentional, reciprocal community that helps its members build strong relationships and a mutual support network. Villa Gardens is a retirement community that celebrates the spirit of the individual and the strength of community. Dick’s presentation of Naval Aviation before Top Gun was made possible by collaborative efforts of these two communities. With the strong support of the Villa Gardens Marketing department, the Executive Director of Pasadena Village, the Villa Gardens Activities & Support group, members of the Pasadena Village, and friends of Dick Myers, a live audience of nearly 100 people – residents of Villa Gardens plus members of Pasadena Village, viewed the show with Dick’s narration in the Villa Vista room. At the same time, people in other parts of the country were able to see the presentation on Zoom.  

Pat Lester, a resident of Villa Gardens, introduced Dick and read a poem titled “High Flight.” Pat’s father was the first Skipper of the aircraft carrier USS Hancock, on which Dick would serve 20 years later. The presentation featured photos of aircraft carriers and planes; plus various diagrams and even a couple of videos, one of which showed a plane landing on an aircraft carrier at night. Dick’s Navy buddies helped with research and content. In addition to information on the planes and aircraft carriers in use during the war, Dick also shared anecdotes from his service in Vietnam. He acknowledged those who were lost and shared his log book which showed the rate of loss in battle.

At the end of the presentation, Village member and Villa Gardens resident, Jean Owen, whose husband was also a Navy pilot 10 years before Dick’s service, and whose son was a Navy Chaplain, read a poem written by Dick at the end of his tour of duty.  

Dick’s presentation was the first time that Villa Gardens and Pasadena Village have collaborated on an event that required both in-person collaboration and technical coordination. Dawneen Lorance declared the event a great success. “Villa Gardens and the Pasadena Village have similar missions – to help older adults live full and meaningful lives as they age. We look forward to hosting more joint programs for our residents and the members of the Pasadena Village.”

The entire presentation was recorded and can be seen at NAVAL AVIATION, BEFORE TOP GUN.

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