The Unsung Heroes, Portraits of Compassion exhibit, featuring Steve Danz and AFW pilots will be extended through April 30. You don’t want to miss this powerful display of everyday people doing extraordinary things. Free admission and located at La Plaza de Cultura y Artes, 501 N. Main Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012. 1-888-488-8083
The ultimate goal of Angel Flight West and its volunteers is helping people in need of transportation to non-emergency medical services. For the past 10 years, we have been coordinating ground transportation in much the same way we coordinate the air transportation. Through Earth Angels, we are connecting passengers with volunteer drivers who provide this necessary ground travel. Even though our flights are free and we cover 99% of the distance to their life-saving medical treatment, the cost of the “last mile” is preventing many people from utilizing our services. For many, a $25-$50 cab/Uber fare is too much, and they forego our free air transportation.
Earth Angel Margot, with passenger in tow, has been navigating travel to health care centers such as UCLA, Cedars Sinai and Ronald McDonald House, with a cheerful demeanor to bring joy to any sick patient. To date Margot has made over 350 trips, meeting patients as they arrive at Santa Monica airport with their AFW pilot and then taking them to their healthcare destination. Many times, she will wait for the patient and bring them back to the airport for their trip to travel home. Thank you Margot, for going the extra mile for us!
Angel Flight West had been selected as one of the top ten finalists for the Social Venture Partners Fast Pitch, an annual event that showcases outstanding nonprofits in LA County. Over 500 nonprofit professionals and community leaders attended at the Skirball Center earlier this month. Executive Director Josh Olson was an excellent representative of AFW and stellar presenter. During the two-month program Josh worked with two coaches to create the three minute presentation. This past summer, over 60 nonprofits applied to the program, 20 were selected and 10 finalists competed. At Fast Pitch, there is an opportunity to gain significant awareness and funding.
More about Fast Pitch, see: http://www.socialventurepartners.org/los-angeles/fast-pitch/
Our Unsung Hero, representing all AFW pilots is featured in the Santa Monica Daily Press and California Community Foundation video!
The California Community Foundation (CCF) announced the opening of a photography exhibit that elevates incredible stories of significant – yet unrecognized – contributions across Los Angeles County and demonstrates how everyday individuals are creating social change. Our very own Steve Danz, representing LA County pilots, was selected as one of these powerful examples.
Portraits of Compassion showcases 30 “Unsung Heroes” of LA County who are working to improve our region. The Unsung Heroes were nominated by the community and selected by the California Community Foundation (CCF) to uplift examples of people performing selfless acts that are making a positive impact in LA County. On Saturday, March 5, the Unsung Heroes were unveiled at a Gala at the LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes. The exhibit opened March 6 and will run through April 4, 2016. Conceptualized and commissioned by CCF, the exhibit is a gift to LA County residents in celebration of the Foundation’s 100 years of service.
“We want this exhibit to turn inspiration into action,” said Antonia Hernández, president and CEO of the California Community Foundation. “The Unsung Heroes teach us that acts of kindness, compassion, generosity and courage have a ripple effect that will multiply over countless lives.”
CCF also states: The Unsung Heroes run the gamut from educators to farmers to cooks to activists. They are dedicated volunteers like Angel Flight West Steve Danz, who pilots low-income patients to urgent medical appointments. A common theme to their actions is a deep desire to build a better Los Angeles.
Portraits of Compassion is open to the public free of charge through April 4, 2016 at LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes (501 N. Main Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012).
For more information, please visit calfund.org/laheroes and follow along on social media with #LAheroes.
Angel Flight West has been selected as one of the top ten finalists for the Social Venture Partners Fast Pitch event at the Skirball Center on Tuesday, March 8, 2016. Over 300 nonprofit professionals and community leaders will attend. Executive Director Josh Olson represented AFW very well and during the two-month program worked with coaches to create the three minute presentation. At Fast Pitch, there is an opportunity to gain significant awareness and funding. Hope to see you there to cheer Josh on and celebrate this accomplishment!
To purchase tickets, see: http://www.socialventurepartners.org/los-angeles/fast-pitch/
More about SVP/Fast Pitch: http://www.socialventurepartners.org/los-angeles/who-we-are/
Listen to AFW soar on the air waves! A few weeks ago Josh Olson, Executive Director and Mauria McPoland, Advancement Director were interviewed by Tina Mica from KSWD The Sound 100.3 FM about what we do and the great service we provide. Hit play down below or visit http://thesoundla.com/?nid=128 to listen!
By Josh Olson
Executive Director, Angel Flight West
The voice was somehow familiar, like something from my childhood, but I couldn’t quite place it. Perhaps when he said, “You sleigh me” in response to a joke, I should have thought about it differently, but at the time nothing seemed that unusual.
In my role as Executive Director of Angel Flight West, I travel to many pilot gatherings. It is always interesting to see the diverse range of knowledge and experience that draws people to general aviation and Angel Flight.
This pilot prospect was instantly likeable. He was remarkably pleasant and effervescent, with a smile that never left his lips. Ruddy complexioned, as if he’d just come in from the cold, he had eyes that defined the notion of “twinkling.” I explained to him that the Angel Flight mission involved providing free transportation, using our own planes, for people with medical issues and other urgent human needs and that many of our missions involved children.
His eyes lit up and his big bushy eyebrows flew up. “Children!” he exclaimed, his voice booming. “That is truly wonderful. All of my flying is for children, and they all seem to love me.
“In fact,” he said jiggling his ample belly, “many of them bring me treats, and a lot of them write to me.”
I couldn’t believe our good fortune. Here was a pilot who’d be a hit with the children we fly to burn camps every summer, as well as those we carry to specialized treatment at various hospitals throughout the year. He had the special spark of compassion and caring that is the most important part of every Angel Flight mission.
I asked him how often he flew.
“One day a year.” I knew he had to be kidding, or that he was perhaps one of those highly regimented people who fly on the same day every week, and that was his “one day.”
When I asked about his airplane, he said he usually thought of it more as an aircraft, and that it was approved for use in more than 190 countries. Impressive. Not even Cirrus has that kind of acceptance, though I couldn’t immediately think of what brand existed that had such widespread distribution. Then again, I certainly haven’t heard or seen it all (at least not until that day).
I explained to him that Angel Flight pilots pay their own expenses for each mission, and consider it a privilege — like a gift — to be able to help others and bring them happiness, comfort and joy. He said he felt exactly the same way, and that for him every flight involved not just one but many gifts. It was clear he understood the real spirit of Angel Flight.
He said he’d been flying for a very long time, though he never said exactly how long. I figured he was probably more than proficient, but wanted to see what his range of experience was, so I asked him if he was comfortable flying at night.
“Night flying? That’s the only kind I do!” he said. We’re always looking for pilots who can help us out when there are late-night calls to transport organs for transplant or for other urgencies, so this candidate was looking very good. He assured me that not only was he fully instrument rated, but that he also had something called Rednose Radar on his plane. I hadn’t heard of it, but as I said, I certainly don’t know everything.
He said capacity wasn’t a problem — compared to the load he usually carries, a flight assistant and two or even four passengers on their way to get medical care they might not otherwise receive would not be a problem at all. Sounded as though he had a pretty big plane, so I asked how many horsepower the engine had. I thought he was being modest and deferring my question when he replied, “I don’t really measure it in horsepower, it’s actually reindeer power. Eight.”
He said it with such a wonderful smile that it all somehow seemed to make sense, as though I already knew this and believed it was true.
As we prepared to part, he handed me his application and said he hoped he’d be able to join Angel Flight and help with our mission. He said he was pretty much available any time except Christmas Eve.
He was gone in a flash, and it was only then that I realized I’d never gotten his name. I looked at the application.
It was signed, “S. Claus.”
At Angel Flight West, we’ve received the same application from hundreds of men and women over a span of more than 30 years. The names change, the aircraft are different, but each of them comes to Angel Flight prepared to offer the gift of hope, care, and concern to those for whom a donated flight can be a lifetime — or a life-saving — experience.
And to all a good night.
We are giving ourselves a well-deserved pat on the back courtesy of the recognition from the 2015 National Philanthropy Day Awards!
On November 10 at Paramount Studios, Angel Flight West and board chair/command pilot Steve Danz received awards for the 30th Anniversary of National Philanthropy Day Awards, sponsored and presented by the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
Angel Flight West was honored with the Nonprofit Achievement Award and Steve as Outstanding Volunteer; he accepted the award on behalf of the volunteer pilots. It was a richly deserved celebratory event for Angel Flight West!
We are so grateful for the recognition and intend to use this honor as fuel to our fire and never let up in the fight for our cause.
National Philanthropy Day® is a special day set aside each November- the purpose of which is to recognize the great contributions of philanthropy—and those people active in the philanthropic community—to the enrichment of our world. President Ronald Reagan signed the official proclamation for NPD in 1986.
Angel Flight West missions will always be remembered. Sometimes you fly in a small four person aircraft; loud propeller engines, a tight space and controls all around you. Other times you could be sitting in a ten person aircraft, consisting of DVD monitors, walking space and a restroom. Each ride is an experience that you will always remember. What could be the easiest way to remember your mission? Angel Flight West has created a list of helpful hints and tips that can be used when you want to document your mission using your camera or video camera. Follow this list and your flight through Angel Flight West will never be forgotten!
1. Be Prepared
Whether it’s a phone or an SLR camera, always be prepared! Don’t forget to charge your camera or video camera the night before. Also, don’t forget any cases or accessories you might need to document the ultimate flight! Always bring a case and a fully charged phone or camera. If you are going to be taking pictures at night, make sure to bring some sort of flash to have the correct amount of light in your photos!
2. Don’t Be Full
There are thousands of cameras that you could use for the mission. Whichever camera you choose, make sure you have lots of memory / storage! Running out of room for pictures on your memory card is the worst, and it means you won’t be able to document the trip at all. If you’re bringing a phone, make sure you have enough room for lots of pictures. Bring extra memory cards if you’re going to be using an SLR or handheld camera.
3. Pass It Around
Although you might want to be the photographer of the trip, don’t forget to let others take photos as well! To get the full view of your mission, make sure to pass the camera around. Take photos of the flight, with the pilot, and let the pilot take photos of you (only when on autopilot, of course!). Take photos of your sleeping family members, and let them take photos of you! You won’t get a scope of the entire trip without everyone being involved!
4. Get the Angles
Similar to Pass It Around, make sure your photos are all different perspectives and styles. Take a close up of the controls, and take a group photo when you have landed! Getting all types of photographs will give your mission that ‘story book’ feel. You will capture the entire idea of the flight!
5. Enjoy the Sky
What could we possibly forgetting? Have Fun! You’re on one of your first Angel Flight West missions as a passenger, so remember to enjoy the sky, enjoy the mission, and enjoy the airplane your pilot has let you fly in. Soar through the clouds and capture the memories you and your family will never forget!
Public benefit flying feted at Endeavor Awards
The good pilots are doing to help others was given a Hollywood bash May 30 at the Los Angeles Science Center.
Movie stars and movie clips lent some Hollywood flair to the second annual Endeavor Awards, which combine celebrity, remarkable surroundings, and fanfare to honor those who contribute their time, money, and aircraft to help others. Hosted by “aspiring” pilot actor Greg Kinnear, the Endeavor Awards were created by Mark Wolper, a Hollywood producer and an active pilot who works extensively with Angel Flight West.
Honorees included 91-year-old pilot John Billings, who flies for Angel Flight Mid-Atlantic; Rick Durden, who flies for LightHawk; and Steve Purello, who flies for Angel Flight Southeast. Each received a $15,000 grant for their organization to help continue its work.
Billings, a retired Eastern Airlines captain who flew the B-24 Liberator in World War II, has flown more than 300 missions for Angel Flight. He places a stuffed animal in the seat of his aircraft for his passengers. “The greatest payment I get is a big hug,” he said after receiving his recognition. “That’s my salary.”