You know you have a great story to tell when you not only have a unique hobby to form a lifelong bond over with your grandfather, but that hobby turns into a career that creates years of memorable moments in its own right.

According to the Cedar Rapids Gazette, Mallory Huntimer was about three years old when the flying bug hit her. By age 5, when she would visit him in Sioux Falls, her grandfather Jim would start taking her out for "rides" in the small plane he built and owned. She was a senior in high school in 2010 when she and Jim were invited to be among the first to land on the newly-reconstructed runway at the Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids. That was her first time here.

Her second time came just recently, this past November 20, when she came back for the first time in her capacity as a professional pilot, a career she had just officially launched nearly a year ago to the day, on November 30, 2021.

The coolness doesn't end there. The whole thing was a full-circle moment and a cool commemoration of a family affair from start to finish. Back in 2010 when the runway was being built, Mallory's father, Paul, was on the runway's construction crew with Hawkins Construction in Omaha, where he still works. Her flying bug grew as many of his projects over the years involved work at airports across the country.

On her latest flight to Cedar Rapids, she said she was recounting the history of her story to her captain:

I got on the airplane and I looked at my captain and said, ‘You want to hear a fun fact? I was the first person to land on this runway we’re about to go land on

Unfortunately, Mallory's grandfather Jim died a few years ago, but their lifelong bond over flying and stories like the one created in Cedar Rapids keeps his memory alive.

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