Thanks to dozens of generous donations and a successful fundraising effort by several local pilots, the 22-year-old aspiring pilot whose legs were paralyzed in an Oakland shooting last year now has aircraft hand controls, allowing him to fly a small plane.
"I just came from flying in a friend's Cessna," Carr said Friday. "We went all the way over Discovery Bay. It felt good."
During the past few months, some local pilots working in conjunction with a scholarship program at Carr's church, Shiloh Baptist Church in Hayward raised more than enough money to purchase the nearly $1,000 specially made hand controls.
Donors contributed an additional $8,000, which will be reserved for Carr's future flight time and further training, said Bill Dillon, a flight instructor and member of the 1-Stop Air Shop Co-op at Hayward Executive Airport. Dillon has known Carr for more than a year and spearheaded the effort to buy the hand controls.
"(Quincey) is so enthusiastic about flying," Dillon said. "We'll be setting up a formal training agenda for him, to get him trained on these hand controls. We might even have to pull the reins in on him a bit, he's so excited about it."
When word got out about the fundraising effort, money came in from more than 100 donors all over the country, some from as far away as Pennsylvania and Hawaii.
On June 24, the pilots presented Carr with the gift at his church, during its annual scholarship event for young people.
"Everybody was so wonderful," said Carr's mother, Yvette Carr. "I just want to give a shout out to the community and thank everyone so much. It was tremendous community support. Somany cards and phone calls came in.
"When he received the controls at the church event, Quincey was real emotional," she said. "He tried to hide it, but it was really a very spiritual event for all of us."
Before the shooting, Carr had made lofty plans for his career. Working three jobs to pay for his flight training, he had already earned his private pilot's license and instrument rating, and hoped to become a commercial airline pilot. He had just passed the written test for a commercial license when he was shot.
Carr, who now lives in Hayward, was shot for no apparent reason five times as he sat in a barber chair in East Oakland on Aug. 11. A 32-year-old ex-convict was identified by witnesses and arrested shortly after the shooting.
Carr barely survived, and has since been steadily recovering. He left a rehabilitation hospital in October, and continues with his physical therapy twice a week. But he still can't use his legs quite an obstacle for a pilot who needs his feet for rudder control.
"He's serious about this," Dillon said. "It's his lifelong dream. So we really wanted to give him a chance to get back up there."
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