Nov 01, 2022 12:00 PM
Peter Teahen and John Ockenfels
The Around-the-World Flight to End Polio

DRC Sponsor: Don Holmertz

**Please note the special meeting location for this day will be the Decorah Municipal Airport**

In late Spring of 2023, Rotarian pilots Peter Teahen from Cedar Rapids and John Ockenfels from Shueyville will climb into Teahan's 1978 PA-32RT-300 Piper Lance. They will depart Cedar Rapids and head east on an amazing, seven week, 20,000 mile around-the-world flight to raise awareness for Rotary International's polio eradication campaign. Our club is fortunate to host these action minded, courageous, and philanthropic Rotarians in order to learn more about the details and plans for this incredible journey.

As members of the International Fellowship of Flying Rotarians, Teahen and Ockenfels hatched the idea of using the global flight as a fundraiser for Rotary's three-decade quest to finally eradicate polio. The two pilots set a goal to raise $1 million with 100% of the proceeds going directly to Rotary International’s “Polio Plus” program. All flight expenses will be paid by Teahen and Ockenfels. When the two-man crew takes off from Cedar Rapids, it will become the “Flight to End Polio.” At each of the 29 stops in 17 countries, the pilots will raise awareness by meeting with other Rotary members, humanitarian workers, and government officials to discuss the progress of polio eradication and the ongoing need for assistance for families still affected by the devastating disease.

Peter Teahen is president of Teahen Funeral Home in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, an author, and a mental health professional. He serves on the faculty at the University of Iowa and is the founder of the Cedar Rapids Freedom Festival. He has served in leadership roles on 67 major disasters throughout the world. He is recognized for his work on aviation disasters and is internationally known for his work in critical incident stress management and the psycho-social impact of disasters. He has served for 19 years as a national media spokesperson for the American Red Cross.

John Ockenfels maintains World War II aircraft, including his own North American Aviation T-6, a Boeing Stearman, and a Cessna 182 Skylane. Prior to his retirement, he served as the chief executive officer of City Carton Recycling, based in Iowa City, Iowa. He attended the University of Iowa and served in the United States Air Force from 1972 to 1976. For two of his four years in the Air Force, he was a crewmember onboard an AC-130 Hercules in Thailand.

To learn more about this epic journey, visit their website at


**Please complete your meal sign-up prior to the meeting, preferably not later than close of business Monday. Our face-to-face meeting will be hosted at the VFW. The meal sign-up, meeting announcment, and any other logistical information will be distributed in advace to all members by email.