GARY, Ind. (WLS) -- The leader of an Englewood nonprofit that helps young people was selected to fly with the Blue Angels on a "Hero Flight" Thursday.
Pha'tal Perkins runs Think Outside Da Block, which aims to help young people in Chicago engage positively with their community.
"At one point in time people looked at time and considered me a part of the problem that we have in the city," he said.
Now Perkins is dedicated to changing the neighborhood he was born and raised in for the better.
"To be able to be the example of what opportunity looks like, when presented with an opportunity to better of do something different, I feel like I represent that," Perkins said.
He was selected to participate in a Hero Flight, giving him the chance to fly in a Blue Angels jet with one of the world's best pilots at the Gary Jet Center in Indiana.
After about seven Gs of force, a dry mouth and wobbly legs, Perkins emerged from the plane victorious.
"It was different. It wasn't Great America, definitely wasn't a rollercoaster ride," he said with a laugh.
It created a full circle moment for him and first time experiences.
"It made me think about my first time on plane. I wanted to see, I let the window up. I wanted to be able to see out, and conquer whatever that fear was," he said.
Perkins thanked the Blue Angels and the men and women of the U.S. Navy for risking their lives to fight for the U.S.