Summerville woman celebrates 100-year-old birthday with helicopter ride

Summerville woman celebrates 100-year-old birthday with helicopter ride

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Thursday was a birthday party to remember for a Summerville woman who just turned 100-year-old on October 15.

Rhea Spencer lives at the Village at Summerville and the staff there wanted to do something special for the spunky woman.

“At The Village we tend to think outside the box,” said concierge and good friend of Spencer, Joseph Shakespeare.

He came up with the idea to bring a helicopter to the senior living facility and give Spencer a ride around the Lowcountry.

“We try to enrich our residents lives,” Shakespeare said. “They make it easy because they’re fun. As you see, Rhea, you wouldn’t think she’s 100. As soon as I told her she was like, ‘Yeah let’s do it!’”

Holy City Helicopters was able to land a helicopter in a large field near the facility and dozens of residents and staff members came out to witness Spencer get in the front seat.

“Oh! It’s beyond expectation,” said Spencer once she was several feet in the air.

When asked what was the best part she said, “I don’t know. I’m overwhelmed!”

During the flight, Spencer was mostly quiet as she took in the sights from the sky.

Pilot and owner of Holy City Helicopters, Hayden Ervin, pointed out major landmarks.

“It’s awesome to be able to take someone who’s never been in a helicopter before,” said Ervin. “It was unique. It was definitely a first for me to be able to do this and share that moment with her in that first flight.”

Spencer’s granddaughter also rode in the helicopter with her.

She said Spencer’s husband used to say: “The sky’s the limit. She’s an angel.”

It was a fitting trip for her grandmother.

Spencer said she wasn’t nervous and will remember the day for a long time. She was all smiles, as were other residents who also got to take rides on Thursday afternoon.

Spencer doesn’t have any plans for her 101st birthday but expects it to be just as adventurous.

When asked what’s the secret to making it to 100 years, Spencer said, “I don’t know! Just take life as it comes.”

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