Tag Archives: newsletter

Gaining Altitude: AFW in 2014

We are off to a great start in 2014! Our membership is up 10 percent. Total flights flown are up 17 percent. Flights requested are up eight percent. And most importantly, the number of passengers served is up seven percent. Passengers like one-year-old Zohie M. from Ronan, MT, who suffers from a condition called synostosis, runs the risk of severely stunted growth and development without surgical intervention at Seattle Children’s Hospital because her bones are fused together. Her condition causes her pain, and causes her young parents a lot of fear and anxiety. Angel Flight West offers hope for healing and health by providing the gift of flight needed to help Zohie and family access the medical care they desperately need.

It is incredibly humbling to serve in my new role of Executive Director at AFW because I see stories of indomitable courage and strength like Zohie and her parents every day, and I admire our passengers. In the same way, I admire our amazing pilots and volunteers who generously give of their passion for flying to serve our courageous passengers. I also admire our committed, talented staff and volunteer leadership who balance the busy and sometimes crazy world of our passengers, pilots, health care partners, and patrons to accomplish our mission efficiently and effectively. Between our courageous passengers, our passionate volunteers, and our dedicated staff, we make an amazing team!

Our challenge as we move forward is positioning our organization to serve more people in need of our gifts of flight. We are working hard to evolve our services to make things easier for our passengers, pilots, health care partners, and patrons. As patients become more and more responsible for arranging their own healthcare, we are continually revising our request process to make it easier for our passengers and health care partners. We eliminated member fees and started directly advertising on social media to sign up over 100 new members last month. We created the electronic waiver to make the day of flight simpler for our pilots. We hosted the Endeavor Awards to raise awareness and patronage for public benefit flying. (See pages 2 & 3). We’ve revised our website to help us get information out that is relevant and timely. Later this year, we will be integrating Earth Angels as a user group in AFIDS. This will allow us to recruit volunteer drivers across our region to assist in transportation to and from healthcare, positioning us to offer “curb to curb” service for our passengers. And there is more to come.

Angel Flight West is adapting to the challenges surrounding us while keeping our eyes on our mission. While we are buffeted by winds, we will continue to gain altitude. As we pass 60,000 total flights flown, let’s keep our communication open and the passion for our mission strong. Thank you for making this organization a source of such  impact and inspiration. I’m really looking forward to what we can accomplish in our next 30 years!

In the Hanger: Jill Dannis

Jill Dannis
Jill Dannis

Jill Dannis is one of our newest mission operations coordinators. She originally came to AFW as an intern in the spring of 2011 after seeing a job post from AFW on the Loyola Marymount University student career services website. As an intern that spring, Jill did general office work while also training to be a mission coordinator to assist with the increase in flights over the busy summer months. She worked at AFW as a mission coordinator during the summers of 2011 and 2012, mostly working on summer camp mission coordination. She was offered a full-time position as a mission coordinator upon graduating in May 2013 with a degree in Sociology.

Jill had been heavily involved in community service in college and interested in nonprofits as a result of her studies in sociology, so she was looking to combine her interests. After graduation she thought she might do a year of post-graduate service abroad, but through her previous work at the organization she had “gotten really attached to AFW, so when the offer came it gave me an opportunity of doing service in a more permanent way.”

AFW has also given Jill a chance to “see what a great impact the organization has on both the passengers and pilots–not only the people who are going to treatment, but it also gives meaning to the pilots and what they like to do.” AFW thanks Jill for helping to continue the service we provide.

We Are Thankful

AFW Executive Director, Alan Dias
AFW Executive Director, Alan Dias

As 2013 draws to a close, AFW can take pride in knowing that we have once again positively impacted hundreds of lives and perhaps saved a few.  Giving back by doing something we are passionate about like aviation is a special blessing, and this opportunity is truly something for which we can be thankful.

As a leading volunteer pilot organization, we work closely with other public benefit flying organizations and especially other Angel Flights. After launching AFIDS 2.0 in October of 2012, we offered it free to other organizations.  A user group was formed and today nine organizations are participating in AFIDS’ ongoing improvement. This is contributing to enhanced communication between the groups, which in turn, means helping more people. We can be thankful for this ongoing co-operation.

What we do wouldn’t be possible without our dedicated staff, consultants, and Board of Directors, but especially the hundreds of volunteer pilots throughout our thirteen states. They represent a level of kindness and generosity that speaks to the best in all of us. In the almost twenty years of involvement with AFW, I am constantly amazed and humbled by their selfless generosity. Many times over I hear pilots say that they get back more from their passengers then they give themselves. The spirit and positive attitudes of our passengers is nothing short of inspiring.

It’s not only our pilot volunteers that make us successful, but all our volunteers–our Ground Angels (non-pilot volunteers) and our Earth Angels (those who volunteer to drive our passengers to and from their appointments and sometimes called Auto Pilots). We are thankful for all of them, and it’s this team effort that sets AFW apart.

We are thankful for our hundreds of patrons–the individuals, corporations, and foundations that support AFW financially. It takes close to 1.3 million dollars a year to arrange the missions, recruit the pilots, and do the outreach to publicize our mission and to cover the overhead of the office.  Without the financial support of our patrons we wouldn’t be able arrange free air transportation to those in need.

What we do is unique as a non-profit. We utilize a resource called general aviation, and along with our commercial airline partners dramatically and positively impact thousands of lives.

As the year draws to a close, I want to personally thank all those who make our mission possible. It’s a privilege to be AFW’s Executive Director.

Blue Skies and Tailwinds,

Alan Dias,
Executive Director