WHEELS UP FOR HEROES: Columbia Sportswear chief executive officer Tim Boyle made certain that the mothers of the three Americans who helped thwart the AK47-armed gunman on a high-speed Paris-bound train Friday were able to jet over to Europe in time to see their sons be honored by French President Francois Hollande on Monday.
The Portland, Ore.-based executive loaned his private jet to the matriarchs after his pilot Doug Perrill called to say they were in need of transportation. Portland native and Oregon National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos, U.S. Airman Spencer Stone and Anthony Sadler Jr. wrestled the gunman Ayoub El-Khazzani until subdued. Their mothers and a few other family members touched down Monday in Paris with a few hours to spare before each of their sons received the Legion of Honor from Hollande.
A Columbia spokesman confirmed Monday that Perrill also helped the mothers navigate the U.S. State Department to get passports. Boyle and his wife Mary greeted the family members at Portland International Airport Sunday before they boarded what is said to be his 11-passenger Dassault Falcon 2000 jet.
Columbia executives declined to say what, if anything, is planned for the relatives’ return to Portland International on Tuesday. Apparently, the family has requested that there not be a celebration of any kind, or that any details of their return be publicized, an airport spokesman said. It wasn’t disclosed whether Skarlatos, Stone and/or Sadler would join their mothers on the return flight. “The families have asked that we not provide any details,” the airport spokesman said. “We are trying to respect their request.”
Stone, who was cut badly during the scuffle, and his two friends flew the American airbase in Landstuhl, Germany, on Tuesday morning, where they were greeted by several hundred fellow soldiers, according to news reports.
Columbia did not put out a press release about Boyle’s goodwill gesture. When asked Monday, a company spokesman released a statement on behalf of Boyle that explained he and his wife were made aware of the situation “late Saturday evening.”
“We were humbled by the opportunity to lend our private jet, so they could be there to witness French President François Hollande recognizing their sons and brothers with France’s highest civilian honor for their selfless acts of last Friday,” the ceo said. “We stand today with people all around the world in honor of these four young men who bravely subdued the terrorist and saved untold lives.”
Boyle’s mother and Columbia chairwoman Gert, who is known in its ads as “One Tough Mother,” no doubt approved.