Angel Flight NE's History
We are not making history. We are living it.
Celebrating our 15th year in service, Angel Flight NE (AFNE) is a story about the courageous men, women and children and their families with an incredible will to live. AFNE flies these fine people free of charge to hospitals so they can receive critical care treatment. We have answered over 45,000 flight requests and have flown over 9 million miles since we began operation in Spring 1996. On a weekly basis, we schedule approximately 100 flights for these courageous patients and their families ensuring they have access to medical care they need.
We have never turned away a request, and with a little help from our friends, we never will.
This is our story:
As a retired business owner and an avid private pilot flying out of the Beverly Airport in Beverly, MA, Larry Camerlin would hear stories about patients having difficulty accessing healthcare away from home. With a burning desire to combine his love of flying with his background in health care and ministry, Larry sensed there was a great need to establish an Angel Flight hub in New England to serve patients primarily living in the northeastern states. Larry Camerlin answered his calling and founded Angel Flight NE in March 1996.
With pro bono counsel from attorney Nicholas Hodge at the Boston law firm of Hill & Barlow, Angel Flight NE was incorporated in March 1996 and soon thereafter the IRS granted us 501 (c)(3) non-profit tax-exempt status. Using a small office space donated by the Beverly Flight Center, our flight operations began on May 31, 1996 with 10 volunteer pilots and two requests for flights.
Donations are the heart of our operations
Angel Flight has been able to provide free flights because of the generous support of donors and volunteers. Private pilots donate their time, planes, feul, and resources to provide free air transportation for AFNE's passengers. Ground volunteers, including Mission Coordinators and "Earth Angels ," set up and coordinate flights, provide ground transportation to and from the airport, and run the daily operation of AFNE.
The donations of over 16 businesses and 51 airline union members donated all the labor and materials we need to make our new headquarters a reality. In April 1998, we moved to new state-of-the-art flight headquarters at Lawrence Municipal Airport in North Andover, Massachusetts.
Spreading the news of hope
Media attention has played a powerful role in our public outreach efforts to offer free flights of hope to patients and attract our pilots and ground volunteers. Angel Flight has been featured on:
- Boston Fox 25 Features AFNE Pilot
- CNN’s "Headline News,"
- NBC's The Today Show in Katie Couric’s People We Admire Series, in November 2003.
- Boston’s ABC, NBC and CBS television affiliates,
- Boston’s Channel 7/NBC in November 1999, and November 2000.
News stories about AFNE have also appeared on:
- New England Cable News,
- Boston Fox 25
- Channel 5 in Bangor, Maine,
- Channel 12 in Providence, Rhode Island, and
- Boston’s PBS station, WGBH-TV.
Honored to serve the community
We have been recognized for significantly improving access to health care for thousands of people. Among the awards we have received are the National Child Labor Committee’s 1999 Special Lewis Hine Award that was presented to Larry Camerlin for his contribution to children through Angel Flight; and the Hero Among Us award by the Boston Celtics and Boston Globe.
Responding to tragedy
Our unique service and infrastructure have also enabled us to be responsive in times of crisis such as when terrorists crashed two planes into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, and in the aftermath of the Newton Oak Hill School bus crash in Canada in April 2001. In the wake of both these tragedies, Angel Flight was the first in the air, quickly mobilizing pilots, aviation officials, and volunteers to provide flights for the victims and their families.
In the weeks following the devasting earthquake in Haiti, AFNE pilots participated in Haitian relief efforts. They flew tents, supplies and medical staff into the ravaged country.
Fifteen years after its inception, Angel Flight NE has flown over 9 million miles--about 100 missions per week--all to help people in their times of greatest need. We have become a vital mode for carrying organs and blood, patients awaiting transplants, and "compassion flights" (flying loved ones to visit critically ill family members). Angel Flight NE is making more promises every day, and striving to keep them, all to help people in their times of greatest need.
The greatest challenge to healthcare in the new millennium is the ability of patients to access the tremendous advances in science and medicine that are taking place every day. In the next few years, Angel Flight NE could be positioned to help every man, woman and child in the U.S. who turns to us for hope. Please help us make it a reality.