AFNE Volunteer Pilot Rich Jacobs Recognized for 900 Flights of Healing and Hope
We are beyond thrilled to announce that Rich has completed a spectacular milestone for Angel Flight NE’s mission ~ 900 Flights of Healing and Hope!
Rich has been one of our most loyal and selfless pilots as he has been flying with AFNE since 2003. When congratulating Rich for his accomplishment, he was in the process of preparing for yet another flight of hope and healing – 901 and counting! Founder and President of Angel Flight NE Fr. Larry Camerlin would like to extend his gratitude for Rich’s years of supporting our patients and friendship.
Rich shared this beautiful story about a family’s call to fly for their young daughter’s kidney transplant:
“The call came at 6:30 a.m. “They have a liver for my 16-month-old” she said, “we live near Providence and need to get to Pittsburgh by noon. You’re on a list which Angel Flight gave us. Can you help?”
After a preliminary check of the weather, I told her that I’d meet them at the airport in Providence at 8:00 a.m. My attention then turned to coffee and all the usual the preflight planning details plus one more: coordinating with the ambulance company in Pittsburgh which would be meeting our flight.
We arrived in Pittsburgh by 11:30 a.m. The child received his new liver that afternoon. Thus, Angel Flight Mission (my 572nd) accomplished.
Although this was likely a once-in-a-flying-career flight for me, every Angel Flight is special: the passenger might never before have faced the medical issue and decisions then confronting him or her nor ever been in a small general aviation aircraft. Angel Flight’s volunteers and professionals are there to assure that the last thing that the passenger should have to deal with is how to get to or from their medical appointment, especially if it’s to see a specialist in a distant city.
It’s called “public benefit flying”. Certainly, the efforts of Angel Flight volunteers benefit the patient and the patient’s family specifically and society in general, but as importantly, those efforts benefit the volunteer, both on a practical level (keeping current) and because it just feels good to do good.
My Mission 572 took place in 2015; my 800th in 2021. Somewhere between those two, the father of a 7-year-old patient (heart transplant at age 2) asked me “why do you do this?”
My answer drew on my tradition:
“Whoever preserves one life, it is as if that person preserves the entire world”.
To be able to fulfil that mitzvah (good deed) by flying my own aircraft — it doesn’t get any better than that.”