50 before 40; mans plan to visit all US states before birthday
PHOENIX (KSAZ) - Dozens of planes were delayed at Sky Harbor Airport due to the weather.
The delays had a big impact on a Florida man heading to Hawaii.
His trip to Hawaii is part of a personal challenge to visit all 50 states before he turned 40-years-old. He got stuck at the airport the night before his birthday, dashing his dreams of making it to the final state on the list by the deadline.
Matt Leturmy had to visit ten states this year to reach his goal. Vermont, Iowa, Utah, Montana, North and South Dakota, Wyoming, New Mexico, and Alaska. Hawaii was his last stop. When a delay at Sky Harbor kept him from getting there, a friend brought the tropics to him right here in the valley.
Matt Leturmy is celebrating the big 4-0 with this beautiful view of Honolulu. In college, Matt and a friend challenged each other to visit all 50 states. For Matt, Hawaii was the last on the list.
"The original goal was 50 by 50, and then he was able to finish before he turned 40, so I had to at least match him," said Matt Leturmy.
The day before his 40th birthday, he left his home state of Florida and headed for Hawaii. While connecting at Sky Harbor, his afternoon flight was severely delayed.
"There was an hour delay, and I got the alert, and then it moved from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and then 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and then 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.," said Leturmy.
Matt realized he wouldn't make it to Hawaii that day, his dream of 50 states before age 40 was crushed.
"Made me feel like I ran 26.999 miles of a marathon and didn't quit make it," he said.
To ease the blow, one of Matt's friends brought Hawaii to Matt. An off-duty airline employee Brent Malolo who happens to be part of Mesa's Royal Islanders Polynesian group. Brent found Matt in the Admiral's Lounge and performed the Polynesian War Chant -"The Haka."
Matt says he's going to enjoy his time in Hawaii relaxing and doing nothing. His next travel adventure? Finishing a tour of Major League Baseball Stadiums. He only has 6 left.