The Ryan J. Poe Foundation takes young contest winner on an insp - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

The Ryan J. Poe Foundation takes young contest winner on an inspiring flight

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TRI-CITIES, WA - After winning an essay contest, 13-year-old Wendy Sanchez got to go for a high-flying ride.  

After Russ Poe's nephew, Ryan J. Poe, passed away in 2002, Russ and his brother decided to start the Elevate Your Life program to try and help kids chase their dreams; something that Ryan never got the chance to do.

Even though Ryan passed away, his memory lives on through this foundation.

"The loss of his life has impacted so many kids and continues to do so today," Russ Poe told us, Executive Director of Ryan J Poe Foundation.

One of those kids is Wendy Sanchez, who decided to enter the essay contest after hearing about it on the radio.

"I just wanted to see if I could win," she said. 

And win she did.

"I was really surprised, I didn't think I was going to be able to win it," Wendy admitted.

As part of her prize, she got to soar in a two-seater aerobatic plane.

"It was awesome, the view was so beautiful," she told us.

This foundation uses that sky-high view to show these kids that it's possible to reach their dreams.

"If you don't have a dream, get a dream. And if you do have one, stay focused on it, keep your eye on the ball, keep your nose to the grindstone and always aim for the sky," Russ said.

Wendy wants to become a pediatric dentist, and we have no doubt she will do whatever she sets her mind to.

This program was a kickoff to the Over the River Airshow this weekend, and you can go to our website,, for more details.