Freedom Flyer Book
Organized by: Krys Wasielewski
Thanks, you made my day again!
February 23, 2016
EVENT DATE Sep 24, 2017
from Poughkeepsie Journal:
Running for the ‘Freedom Flyer' aka 'UFO', or 'Wiedeńczyk'
His life story easily could be made into a movie, and an inspirational one at that. For today, though, we’ll just have to settle for a humble running column about my friend Krys Wasielewski, a native of Poland, a proud American and a Dutchess County resident for the past three decades.
[Krys is using running of the 2017 TCS NYC Marathon on November 11, 2017 as the impetus for his fundraising efforts. For now, though, he is asking for help in his ambitious goal to raise $10,000 to save the plane that helped him escape to the wonderful life in America for him and for his family.]
Krys’ exploits as a long-distance runner, a loyal member of the Junk Yard Dogs of eastern Dutchess County, have been well documented in this space through the years. The Dover Plains resident has run 57 marathons, countless other races, and is usually near the top of his age group. We’ve told you many times about his journey from start to finish in road races. Today, it’s time to tell you the story of how he made it to the starting line of his life in the United States and Dutchess County since 1984.
Krys met and married his wife, Barbara, in Poland, where their daughter Luiza was born. Early in their marriage and in Luiza’s life, however, Poland was a country in great turmoil.
“Until the crackdown on Solidarity Union in Poland in mid-December of 1981, I was a Polish Air Force pilot and a middle distance runner,” Wasielewski recalled last week. “(Early in) 1982, I defected from Poland to Vienna in the STOL An-2, the largest biplane every built.”
It was a daring escape, as he flew low, below the radar so as not to be detected. After landing in Vienna, he and his family eventually made their way to the United States, escaping the oppression in their native land. Krys eventually forged a long and successful career in the environmental division of the Dutchess County Department of Health before his retirement early last year.
For many of us in this country, it can sometimes be easy to take our freedom for granted. After all these years, no one is more grateful for his life in the United States than Krys. He had a successful career, and he is active in his church and within the running community. In short, he is the embodiment of the American dream.
The plane that carried Krys to freedom was retired from the Polish Air Force in 2012. It now sits in an aviation museum in Krakow, as the only flying exhibit that they possess, according to Wasielewski. Its message of freedom still resonates with him and with all those who lived through that period in history.
“The plane has such a strong message of freedom,” he said. “I am trying to commemorate this triumph of freedom over tyranny by making sure that this plane with its message will be visible in all air shows.
“It is a living testimony of the desperate measures that, dissatisfied with lies and tyranny of Communism, people like me would use to get out of such a corrupt political system,” he added. “No wonder (the plane) is called now the ‘Freedom Flyer.’ ”
Wasielewski said that this year the aviation museum must overhaul this historic biplane, lest it loses its airworthiness forever. “Therefore,” he said, “I am trying to join that effort with a little help of my American friends to raise some funds to help in the restoration process, to make all necessary repairs for the plane. It would help tremendously in my efforts of preserving part of our ‘solidarity’ history.
Also, in the spring of 2018, he has tentative plans for a super-ultra-run along Via Regia starting in Moscow, Russia and ending 4,500 kilometers furthe in De Compostela, Spain, he is asking for help in his ambitious goal to raise additional $ 2,500 to write a book** about "his" plane that helped him escape to the wonderful life in America for him and for his family.
By Pete Colaizo - On the Run Column
A quote (excerpt from the Donor Comments) by Malgorzata and Tom Long, "Krys, this airplane is a symbol of freedom and we are happy to support this effort. Good luck in the ___ Marathon!"
* Krys Wasielewski and his supporters reserve the right to change terms and conditions of this fundraiser at any time without prior notice. In the event that any changes are being made, the revised terms and conditions shall be posted on this website immediately. Please check the latest information posted herein to inform yourself of any changes.
** 1. $ 5,000 Principal Sponsor - will be solemnly honored on the Book Acknowledgement Page (entire page);
2. $ 2,500 Sponsor - will be honored on the Book Acknowledgement Page (1/2 page);
3. $ 1,000 Benefactor - will be honored on the Book Acknowledgement Page (1/4 page);
4. $ 500 Patron - will be honored on the Book Acknowledgement Page (1/8);
5. < $ 500 Supporter - will be honored on the Book Acknowledgement Page.