Kids going back to school … leaves changing color… fall is a time of transition. As I write the opening to this fall newsletter, we are in the midst of a number of transitions at Wings of Hope.
First, Wings of Hope President Don Hamblen presented his resignation in mid-September. In his short time here, we were the lucky beneficiaries of Don’s energy, enthusiasm and experience. We will continue to build on the positive momentum that Don put in motion during our search for his successor.
As the Wings of Hope family adjusts to this internal personnel change, Wings of Hope the worldwide organization is undergoing some global changes.
We were fortunate to host two very special guests at the end of August: Darren and Joanne Lea, missionaries with Adventist World Aviation (AWA). The Leas were in town with their beautiful 8-month-old, Rosanna, to pick up a Cessna 182 that will support AWA’s work in Nicaragua. Darren, a pilot and mechanic, spent his week here helping our team of mechanics work out the final squawks on the C-182 before heading off to Tennessee where he and Joanne are using the plane to travel to churches seeking support for their next mission in Guyana. (After their fundraising tour, the plane is destined for Nicaragua. Another 182 is waiting for the Leas in Guyana.) As you know, our pilot, TJ Stewart, recently left Nicaragua to start his next assignment in Belize. Before leaving Puerto Cabezas, TJ spent a month transitioning the new pilot from AWA to take over his duties flying medical evacuations there. In August, we also sent a new field director to Cambodia, another transition that will strengthen the education program we operate there with our partner John Givonetti Giving. (See story page 2.)
As a 54-year-old organization with a worldwide network of partners, transition is something we’ve learned to expect. What doesn’t change is the reason we do the work in the first place.
“We’ve seen what it is like in these remote areas,” said Joanne Lea. “You feel like you’re on the edge. You see the need for aviation. It’s very hard to turn down a flight when you see how isolated the people are in the jungle.”
Joanne was talking about her and Darren’s time in Chad and Guyana, but her recognition of the great need of people who are isolated and the compelling motivation to help is at the core of who we are at Wings of Hope. It is a powerful constant that has steered this organization through more than five decades of change. As long as people feel compassion toward one another, this constant will not change.
As Joanne so aptly put it: “We have greater meaning every day if we know that we are helping others.”