By Karen McBride
Published in LOLANews
Angel Flight Southeast helps people in need of medical services get to the treatment. FAA certified pilots volunteer their time and aircrafts to transport people in need to get to their treatment whether it is for chemotherapy, dialysis, organ transplant, or other medical need. Angel Flight is part of the Air Charity Network and is known as Mercy Flight in Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and South Carolina. The organization has been around for 27 years.
Steve Purello, CEO and Chairman of Angel Flight Southeast, had been an Angel Flight Northeast pilot for more than six years before moving to Florida. He had learned about it from a brochure left at one of the airports he would frequent. He was pleased to find out there was an Angel Flight Southeast, so that he could continue with his volunteer work. “It makes you feel good to help someone in need,” says Purello.
Airports all over Florida are used. Tampa Executive airport is the primary airport in our area. Recently, a military veteran, who had vision problems, was flown from Tampa to a VA hospital in West Palm for treatment. Classes are held at the facility to teach sight impaired veterans how to live in a sightless world. Last month, they were at Peter O. Knight airport. An infant needed to be transported to a hospital in Miami for a liver transplant.
Pilots with 250 PIC hours are encouraged to apply to be a volunteer. In addition to helping people get to their medical appointments, Angel Flight SE helps during times of disaster. Working under a special agreement with the U.S. government and the Corporation for National and Community Service, Angel Flight pilots completed hundreds of missions after 9/11, and hurricanes Katrina and Andrew. The missions included transporting personnel and small cargo.