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"Get on the Plane"

Spike Lee’s 1996 movie was about the experience of a group of men, traveling to an event, rather than the event itself. “Get on the Bus” highlighted the relationships between men with very little in common other than their goal of getting to the Million Man March. While the plane trip to the recent NCS National Retreat didn’t involve any major conflicts or the plane breaking down (thankfully), it was still an experience.

So how did a group of brudders come to fly together to the retreat in Orlando?

Joe Budd, Chairman and CEO of The Budd Group, and NCS East member learned that some of the men wanting to go to the event didn’t have the ability to travel to Orlando. Budd generously offered to fly seven people with him on his private plane. Fellow member, Guy Morgan made an announcement of the offer and was tasked with prioritizing who received aid. After that, seats were given on a first come, first served basis.

Not only would some in this group have been unable to attend the Retreat without this transportation, those that would most likely would have traveled with other men. So the bringing together of this particular group of men from many walks of life was nothing short of a “God thing”.

Morgan felt like the group was a “good fit”. While everyone was from NCS East, the group was very diverse. Two men didn’t actually live in the Winston area – and one was from Milan, Italy! One man had never flown on an airplane before. The eight men were from different careers, backgrounds and life experiences. What united them was their faith…and the shared desire to get to this Retreat!

It was remarkable that Bill Hickman’s parole officer allowed him to leave the state to attend the Retreat. For Hickman, it was his first time flying – and he was a bit nervous. To ease his fears, Budd’s wife showed up at the hangar to talk with the group and pray before the flight left. Budd got to view Hickman’s first experience with flying up close and personal, as Hickman road in the cockpit with Budd. He also witnessed Hickman’s first impression of the ocean, which he remarked was “so big”.

Flying to Orlando, there was an excitement and anticipation. There were lots of laughs while the energy of the group was growing over the course of the flight. Some shared their past experiences with the retreat. Many had never been to an NCS Retreat and didn’t know what to expect...but were anxious to see what unfolded. Cabean and Barnaba Ruggieri talked about Italy, where Ruggieri lived, and contrasted the differences between Italy and other countries.

“The most uncommon thing about the flight was having a mixture of people with different backgrounds that were able to talk and share ideas and thoughts,“ said Perry Cabean.

On the way home, Cabean found himself sharing the jazz music on his phone with Stan Senft while discussing the history of jazz and their love of jazz music. Senft mentioned a church in the area that plays jazz one Sunday per quarter plays jazz. Who knew they could make a connection over jazz?

“I learned how valuable and crucial it is for mankind to come together as inhabitants of this world to connect and work to be on one accord,” shared Morgan.

Although 59 men from Winston-Salem attended the NCS Retreat…only eight can say they “got on the plane” and had this singular experience. They proved the old adage that the journey is just as important as the destination.

The group who “got on the plane” were:

Joe Budd

Guy Morgan

Perry Cabean

Reynard McMillan

William "Bill" Hickman

Stan Senft

Fidelis Lyebote

Barnaba Ruggieri

Budd Midkiff

Most of these men are regular attendees of NCS East.

by Angela Levine


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