Mintowt-Czyz also collaborated with other members of the WNCC community to make the play as realistic and authentic as possible. She worked with WNCC’s aviation maintenance program in Sidney to bring in a real plane for the set, and WNCC visual arts instructor Yelena Khanevskaya, who was born in Russia, worked with the cast to develop language skills and dialect.
“I have been truly inspired by their commitment to this piece and their respect for the history of it,” Mintowt-Czyz said. “Many of these women are playing real women, and have brought the characters to life in a really extraordinary way.”
It wasn’t long after they finished filming the performance that she found out Scottsbluff had its own local woman hero who joined the fight in WWII as a pilot. Jane Elizabeth Gardner Fliesbach, who graduated from Scottsbluff High School in 1937, joined the WASPs in 1943 and trained in Sweetwater, Texas, to become a pilot in WWII.
“They (WASPs) ferried planes that came out of the manufacturer, and then they ferried them to bases where the men could use them to teach other people how to fly,” daughter Jane Fliesbach, who is also a board member of the WNCC Foundation, said of her mother. “They didn’t think of themselves at all … as heroes. They loved to fly, most of them loved to fly, and they wanted to serve their country. But they really didn’t look at themselves that way at all.”