VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - The Thunderbirds honored a Valdosta fireman with the flight of his life.
Lt. Chad Roe is Valdosta's Hometown Hero as he suits up for a flight with the United States Air Force Thunderbirds.
"I'm pretty excited," said Lt. Chad Roe, Hometown Hero. "A little bit of nerves, but mostly excited."
"They'll be able to experience G Forces," said Sara Harper, Thunderbirds Public Affairs Officer. "The F-16 can pull up to 9 G's. So they'll get to experience that."
Roe has been with the Valdosta Fire Department for more than 16 years.
"It was just something that I wanted to do to help people and it seemed like an exciting job," said Roe.
He walks to the jet alongside Pilot Major Scott Pez before takeoff. The Thunderbirds go around the country selecting people who are making a difference in their communities to take flights with them.
"We choose someone from the community who is well known and who has done amazing things so, Chad Roe was the firefighter of the year last year from Valdosta and a fantastic candidate so he's going to get a flight in the F 16 in the backseat," said Harper.
It's a flight that was a surprise to Roe.
"I didn't know anything about it and I got an email one day while I was sitting in class," said roe.
Roe gets a last minute check up from the pilot before take-off. Thunderbird officials say their goal is to give hometown heroes an unforgettable experience so they can become an advocate for the Air Force.
"Our whole job is to really get the word out about the Air Force," said Harper.
This weekend's shows will be the Thunderbirds last of the year before they head home to Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada where the team is based.