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Harrison Ford among pilots flying Special Olympics athletes to Lincoln

2010-07-17T19:35:00Z 2010-07-19T10:13:42Z Harrison Ford among pilots flying Special Olympics athletes to LincolnBy COLLEEN KENNEY / Lincoln Journal Star JournalStar.com

Susan Epps and Michelle Walsh were volunteering inside the Special Olympics medical tent at Duncan Aviation when Harrison Ford pulled up in his green jet.

He headed to the pilot's tent. So did they -- with the rationalization that "someone there might have a medical emergency," Epps said, smiling.

They watched as people mobbed him. They were within three feet. But they didn't follow when he rode in a golf cart to the news conference nearby in the fire station.

After the news conference, Ford returned to the pilot's tent. But few people were there at that point. So Epps, chief operating officer of Cornhusker chapter of the American Red Cross, asked the actor if she could get a photo with him.

Walsh, who works at BryanLGH, got out her Motorola phone and took it.

"I just asked him if he'd mind, and he said no," Epps said. "I asked him if he ever got tired of this, and he said, ‘No, not at all.'"

Epps couldn't believe it. She stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Indiana Jones.

"Now my 19-year-old said I was supposed to say, ‘Harrison, aliens? Really?!'"

She laughed.

"I did not say that."

Ford didn't say a lot at the news conference. His remarks lasted maybe a minute. He was soft-spoken. He thanked Cessna and everyone who made the airlift possible, said he was honored to be part of it.

"I had a great flight today," he said.

He said he got to to meet some "wonderful people" in the five Special Olympics athletes and two coaches he flew into Lincoln from Albuquerque, N.M.

He talked about general aviation, the important service it provides to the world -- and efforts like the Cessna airlift, in which Cessna owners from around the country donate their jets to bring in thousands of Special Olympics athletes and coaches.

General aviation, he said, is little understood by the public and by the policymakers in Washington.

He said he'll be back Saturday to pick up the athletes and coaches and return with them to New Mexico.

He said he wasn't going to hang around in Lincoln because he had to get back to Santa Fe, N.M., where he's working on a movie.

He wore a white ballcap and longish hair (maybe for the role?). He also wore a wedding ring. He got married a few weeks back to actress Calista Flockhart.

Someone congratulated him on the wedding. He said thanks.

Later in the medical tent, Walsh was sending the photo to Epps' phone.

"It's going to be my screensaver," Epps said.

What was her impression of him?

He seemed human, she said. He was a little shaggy-haired under the white ballcap. He was cute.

"I'd leave with him." she said, laughing. "I'd leave with him."

Reach Colleen Kenney at 402-473-2655 or ckenney@journalstar.com.

Harrison Ford speaks to the media

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