It’s National Volunteer Week – meet one of our volunteers who goes above and beyond: Phil Rosnik

It is my pleasure and honor to be associated with Angel Flight West (AFW) as a Mission Command Pilot.  I joined Angel Flight West in the Spring of 2015 as a way to combine my passion for aviation, general aviation in particular, and my desire to help families and individuals dealing with difficult medical situations, seeking out medical services not accessible to them near their homes.

Aviation seems to have always been in my DNA.  I started flying lessons as soon as law would allow at age 16, here in Denver at Rocky Mountain Metro Airport in Broomfield (known back in the day as Jeffco Airport).  I earned my Private Pilots license in 1982 at the age of 17.  My training continued without pause both here at Jeffco and then at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, AZ, where I entered college adding Commercial Pilot License, Instrument Rating and Certified Flight Instructor credentials.   I spent the next 26 years advancing a career with several aerospace companies, moving through 7 states, and finishing my career with a 17 year tenure as a VP/GM for the Electronics Division of Goodrich Corp, which merged with United Technologies Corp (UTC) in late 2012.  Throughout those years in industry, my passion for piloting aircraft was ever present.  We owned an Aerobatic Cessna for many years and enjoyed flying it around the Seattle area for the 15 years we spent there.  I retired from my Senior Executive position with UTC post merger because it was time to return home to Denver and spend time with extended family.

Angel Flight Pilots and the dedicated support personnel help to fill that very important need by providing free transportation to and from cities linking people in need of medical care with facilities that provide this care.  My very busy life as a corporate exec did not allow me to join AFW until my transition back to Denver, but now is my time to give back! It is my pleasure to participate with such a great group of dedicated individuals.  I have met many wonderful people with the organization and the passengers have all been a pleasure to assist.  I hope to continue my involvement with AFW for many years to come.

Thank you Phil, for giving back!!

 

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It’s National Volunteer Week – meet one of our volunteers who goes above and beyond: Rick Holloway

I am truly touched to be the Pilot of the Year for the Idaho wing for 2015.  I did a lot of flying for AFW last year, and hope to have even more flights for 2016.

Pilots for AFW generally do not seek recognition for their service. The knowledge that we are helping people whose travel would be difficult or impossible as they struggle with life situations that they did not choose for themselves is rewarding enough.

I have been a licensed pilot since November 1999, accumulating nearly 1,200 hours of time in a variety of single engine airplanes.  My wife, Mission Assistant Jackie Holloway, and I joined AFW in August 2014.  I flew 7 missions in 2014, and followed it up with 20 missions in 2015.

I am based in Caldwell, Idaho but my flights have picked up and delivered people to and from Salt Lake City, Pocatello, Idaho Falls, Spokane, Yakima, Salem, OR, Susanville, CA, Truckee, CA, and Reno, NV.  Each flight is somewhat different in duration and location, but each is remarkably similar in the appreciation the passengers have in being able to fly to their destinations, turning hours of travel by car into a fraction of that time. The ages of passengers I have flown range from newborn babies, toddlers, young adults, grown men and women, and the elderly up to 75 years old.  Teenagers with cancer, combat wounded veterans, a 3 year old heart transplant patient, a domestic abuse case, and children needing care at Shriners Hospitals have all been transported hundreds of miles each to their destinations.  Along the way, I have met several other AFW pilots, each who share the same passion for helping someone –whose thanks and a smile are payment enough for a safe, free flight to and from appointments.

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Thank you Rick, for giving back!!

Exhibit Extended!

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

Meet our heavenly Earth Angel, Margot Bernal, who is in her 4th year volunteering for AFW!

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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!

AFW showcased at Social Venture Partners Los Angeles Annual Fast Pitch Event

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.

Watch Josh in action:  https://www.dropbox.com/sh/mrbqdk0kcp3rvcn/AAB4d8qIotzieACImBZDUDUDa?dl=0&preview=Angel+Flight+West.mp4

More about Fast Pitch, see: http://www.socialventurepartners.org/los-angeles/fast-pitch/

Steve Danz, representing LA County pilots, is named an Unsung Hero


Our Unsung Hero, representing all AFW pilots is featured in the Santa Monica Daily Press and California Community Foundation video!

https://www.facebook.com/calfund/videos/10153325532446513/
http://smdp.com/an-angel-turned-hero/154129

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 – A finalist for SVP Fast Pitch!

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/

Santa Claus Joins Angel Flight West

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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.