News>Feature - A wish come true: Parker, Colo., native becomes cadet for a day
Joe and Wyatt Denton (center) stand at parade rest during a noon meal formation and HH-60 Pave Hawk flyover at the Air Force Academy Sept. 28, 2012. Wyatt was made a cadet for a day through the Academy's partnership with the Make-a-Wish Foundation. (U.S. Air Force photo/Sarah Chambers)
Wyatt Denton (center) and his brother Joe (left) march on the Terrazzo with Cadet Squardron 32 during Wyatt's Cadet for a Day experience Sept. 28, 2012. CS 32 was the sponsor squadron for Wyatt, a native of Parker, Colo. (U.S. Air Force photo/Sarah Chambers)
Wyatt Denton (center) and his brother Joe (left) stand on the Terrazzo with Cadet Squardron 32, Sept. 28. HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters from the 34th Weapons Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., flew over the noon meal formation. Wyatt is a native of Parker, Colo. (U.S. Air Force photo/Sarah Chambers)
Wyatt Denton listens to a briefing during his visit to the Air Force Academy Sept. 28, 2012. Wyatt, a native of Parker, Colo., was made a cadet for a day through the Academy's partnership with the Make-a-Wish Foundation. (U.S. Air Force photo/Sarah Chambers)
Wyatt Denton watches a chemistry experiment conducted by Dr. Ron Furstenau during a chemistry magic show at the Air Force Academy Sept. 28, 2012. Furstenau is a professor with the Academy's Chemistry Department. Wyatt, a native of Parker, Colo., was a cadet for a day thanks to a partnership between the Academy and the Make-a-Wish Foundation. (U.S. Air Force photo/Sarah Chambers)
by Staff Sgt. Heather Stanton
Air Force Academy Public Affairs
10/5/2012 - U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- An 11-year-old Coloradan became the Academy's newest cadet when he arrived for "duty" Sept. 28.
Wyatt, from nearby Parker, was welcomed into the Cadet Wing through the Make-a-Wish Foundation and the Academy's Cadet for a Day program.
The whole day was a surprise waiting to happen for Wyatt.
"All they told me was that I would eat and walk," he said.
However, Wyatt and his family did more than eat and walk. Wyatt began Sept. 28 with the issue of his official uniform, flight suit and cap and breakfast with the sponsoring squadron, Cadet Squadron 32, followed by a tour and special service at the Cadet Chapel. Then, they attended a chemistry magic show where Wyatt, his mother Patty, father Joe and brother Justin assisted in many chemical reactions.
"The elephant toothpaste (experiment) was cool," Wyatt said. "I like all of them, but my favorite was the liquid nitrogen with the balloon that looked like an acorn."
After the magic show, the whole family received pilot training in the Academy's flight simulators, and lunch in Mitchell Hall. After lunch, Wyatt and family toured the library, met with the Falconry and basketball teams, and then received a weapons demonstration and an airfield tour.
But Wyatt's cadet experience did not end with one day. The whole family tailgated with Cadet Squadron 32 before Saturday's football game. Wyatt was also brought onto the sidelines to watch up close as the Falcons beat Colorado State 42-21.
"Make-a-Wish is amazing," Patty said. "This whole experience is incredible. I didn't expect this much. (The cadets) pulled out all the stops. We are so grateful for all the Air Force is doing for us."
Wyatt is the 44th Cadet for a Day in conjunction with the Make-a-Wish Foundation. The Academy hosts Cadet for a Day approximately four times a year.
"I think the program is an incredible opportunity both for the children that visit as well as the cadets who get involved, said Cadet 3rd Class Savannah Peterson, Cadet Squadron 32 Cadet for a Day planner. "When you come into it with a great attitude and a willingness to participate, it can change your outlook on life. I am very glad that the Academy gives us this opportunity to make a very deserving child's day. I had so much fun spending time with Wyatt and his family.
"I was constantly humbled by Wyatt's love for life no matter what the circumstances. There were several times throughout the weekend I found myself tearing up just from seeing how much the family appreciated what we were doing," Peterson added.
10/10/2012 5:09:27 PM ET Well-done guys. Way to represent Uncle Sam
Jason, The Pentagon
10/9/2012 3:57:31 AM ET Great work to all the cadets that made his wish come true. Very classy.