When Ryan Hood steps out on the tarmac at RDU International Airport on April 29, all of his thoughts are focused on one thing: pulling a 30,000-pound plane 25 feet as fast as possible during the 2017 Plane Pull benefitting Special Olympics NC.
Hood has participated in Special Olympics North Carolina’s annual Plane Pull fundraiser for seven years. It all began when Hood was asked to be on SONC President/CEO Keith Fishburne’s team. After realizing he enjoyed the adrenaline rush of pulling the plane, Hood was hooked on the event and could not wait to be involved the next year.
“It feels so great after pulling a plane and I feel strong,” expresses Hood.
Every year since, Hood has assembled his own team called the Elvis Rockers, usually consisting of four Law Enforcement Torch Run officers and himself as team captain.
“I’m the first athlete to coordinate my own team,” says Hood. “I like putting it all together and raising the money for it.”
And Hood has come a long way since first forming his team. Through his fundraising efforts, Hood often surpasses the necessary $800 to participate in the Plane Pull. The support of his community in Wayne County has greatly helped Hood to reach his goal each year.
From fundraisers at the local Zaxby’s to donations from a Goldsboro Kia Dealership and the Kiwanis Club, Hood can’t help but feel proud of the dedication from his community to help him and his fellow SONC athletes. Not to mention, Hood truly enjoys fundraising for Special Olympics.
A Global Messenger and former member of the Athlete Council, Hood sees fundraising as an opportunity to spread the message about Special Olympics. It has given him a chance to share with others what Special Olympics has meant to him and why he wants to give back.
“Ryan has been involved with Special Olympics since he was eight years old,” explains Hood’s dad, Rex. “He is very honored to raise funds for an organization that has given him so much.”
However, Hood has a competitive side. Even though he likes fundraising, his main goal is for his team to become the next Plane Pull champions.
“One year my team was in the top 20,” says Hood. “But this year, I hope we win!”
We will be rooting for you and the Elvis Rockers, Ryan!