The Eagle Has Landed . . . Flapping His Wings at John Wayne

Glenn and Wendy Stearns admire Challenger's wingspan as handler Al Cecere holds the non-releasable bald eagle.
Glenn and Wendy Stearns admire Challenger's wingspan as handler Al Cecere holds the non-releasable bald eagle.
Photo by Joel Eckman Maus

CHALLENGER'S CHARITY FLIGHT PATH IS CORRECTED . . .

"Challenger," the non-releasable American bald eagle we told you about this morning, made his scheduled arrival at John Wayne Airport.

Wings of freedom.
Wings of freedom.
Photo by Joel Eckman Maus

Held by his handler Al Cecere, who is president of the American Eagle Foundation, "Challenger" made the trip to Orange County from his home at Dollywood in Tennessee so he can perform at the Life Changing Lives charity fundraiser gala Thursday at the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point.

It is there that Challenger, who appears at numerous sporting and charity events and is believed to be the only eagle that has ever been trained to perform, is scheduled to fly off Cecere's arm and over the audience and onto the arm of before emcee Roy Firestone will announce that, "The eagle has landed."

Astronaut Charlie Duke is being honored at the event along with Sugar Ray Leonard and Tibor Rubin. The charity was co-founded by Glenn and Mindy Stearns (who used to do pitch in entertainment reports on the KTLA Morning News). Both were on hand to greet Cecere and Challenger at John Wayne Airport. Their event, which has raised nearly $1 million for local
charities, is this year scheduled to support the Wounded Warrior Project, Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Boys and Girls Club.


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