Windermere’s own Joan MacPherson (Indian Wells Luxury Homes and Estates Division at 74-996 Highway 111) and her husband, Stan Stokes, got to experience a once-in-a-lifetime treat. You may have seen Stan’s highly-acclaimed work…his paintings grace the Palm Springs Desert Air Museum on Gene Autry. But more on Stan’s famous paintings later…
Here’s how it went, in Joan’s own words:
“Last year my husband Stan Stokes did a bit of a favor for the 89th Presidential Airlift Wing (the Air Force One people). In return, we were invited to join up with them when they brought President Obama to LAX last month. So, at 2:30 PM, we found ourselves amazingly close to the action as Air Force One taxied in and parked. Once things were secured, the stairs were driven up to the 747, the door opened, the President sauntered down the steps, zipped over to Marine One to stop for a quick photo op with a Marine at the door of the helicopter, and then stepped into the helicopter.
“After Marine One and several other helicopters took off, we were cleared to go over to the 747. We were asked to surrender all cell phones, cameras and other electronic devices to the Secret Service Agents (photography is strictly forbidden in the plane). We were then taken up the stairs (not the Presidential grand exit stairs, but the stairs the normal people use) and into the 747 we went! We were given the grand tour from the tail to the nose and upstairs to the cockpit, where they invited Stan to sit in the pilot’s seat while I sat in the navigator’s seat…which was a kick. (If we only had our cameras!) We sat at the President’s official ‘Presidential Office’ table -with his jacket still draped across the chair from his exit just minutes earlier. Upon exiting the plane, our cameras and cell phones were returned, where we took all of the photos we wished.”
But wait…there’s MORE!
Joan recalls, “A few years earlier we had the privilege of being invited to unveil one of Stan’s paintings for the George HW Bush Presidential Library in Texas. President and Mrs. Barbara Bush were wonderful hosts and invited us to spend the afternoon with them in their private living quarters. We had a lovely lunch on the patio and some great conversation. We found them to be delightfully down to earth. Amazingly, they had just returned from Prince Rainier’s funeral in Monaco, Pope John Paul 11′s funeral in Rome, and a visit with Prince Abdulah of Saudi Arabia! When we got back to our car and returned to the real world of Dallas, it dawned on me what an incredible day this had been. We have learned never to take such wonderful opportunities for granted. When offered the chance to participate in such marvelous things, each event is unique and memorable.”