Soaring Spirit: Self-portrait of 7-year-old boy who died tragically now graces jet at MIA

(WSVN) - A South Florida boy who loved flying had his life cut short, but one airport is paying tribute to his legacy. 7’s Brian Entin shows us how his “Soaring Spirit” continues to help others.

Seven-year-old Calder Sloan is buried under the Miami International Airport flight path.

Chris Sloan, father: “It’s a very, very meaningful special place where his remains lie.”

Jets pass over every two minutes, which is fitting for the boy who, just like his dad, loved to fly.

Chris Sloan, father: “When we got on airplanes, he loved visiting the cockpit, asking them questions.”

Chris and his son Calder took trips around the world together.

But then, in 2014, an unexpected tragedy.

Calder was swimming in the backyard of his family’s North Miami home when he was electrocuted by the pool light and died.

Carla Sloan, mother: (crying) “When you lose a child, especially after seven years, it’s so short and unfair that you want to create a legacy.”

So create a legacy is what Calder’s parents did. They started the Caleb and Calder Sloan Awesome Foundation, named after Calder and his brother.

The foundation provided relief in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria and teamed up with 7News for holiday toy drives. They also organize art projects at South Florida schools.

All of it is centered around the foundation’s special logo that is a self-portrait Calder drew of himself before he passed away. It’s called “Mr. Awesome,” and the drawing went viral around the world.

Chris Sloan: “You want to check it out?”

Now, it’s in a place that’s both incredibly meaningful and very fitting.

Caleb Sloan, brother: “Look, our sign!”

Calder’s self-portrait and the words “Captain Calder Mr. Awesome Sloan,” are on the side of a 727. It’s owned by the airport and used for training.

Lonny Craven, MIA’s Director of Airside Operations, made it happen.

Lonny Craven, Division Director of Airside Operations, MIA: “Chris supplied the logo, and we put it on here, and this is our dedication to Calder’s life.”

Caleb Sloan: “It’s on a plane. I mean, I couldn’t imagine this in a thousand years. I really miss him, and I think this brings out the happiness for him.”

Now Calder’s parents hope travelers at MIA will notice the plane, the self-portrait and think of their son, his legacy and their foundation’s work.

Chris Sloan: “Somebody every single day comes by this and sees that and sees his name and sees his self-image, and therefore, it kind of fits in with our belief that love never dies — that he is still with us.”

Carla Sloan: “Calder was an amazing kid, and it’s a tragic story, and if we can do good from that, you know, that’s the purpose of life.”

The Caleb and Calder Sloan Awesome Foundation has a number of different projects they’re working on right now to help children who have experienced trauma and lost loved ones.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Caleb and Calder Sloan Awesome Foundation

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