From the President – Fall/Winter 2017

As a 7-year-old in my hometown of Dwight, a small, central Illinois farm town, “charitable acts” meant washing cars to raise money for baseball uniforms, holding bake sales and, in junior high school, selling merchandise from a blue suitcase through a company called Tom Watt. But I didn’t really understand what being charitable or being philanthropic meant – not until that Christmas Eve when my mom asked me to climb in the back seat of our car so we could drive through the streets of Dwight after dark to quietly deliver garbage bags of clothes and cardboard boxes of food to those less fortunate. We didn’t discuss what we were doing, and we didn’t need to. The smallest acts of kindness can leave an impression that lasts a lifetime. That was my mom, and she taught me my very first lesson in extending a helping hand.

Since then, I have been blessed to serve alongside countless incredible people – all seeking to make our world a better place. I am now humbled and incredibly grateful for the opportunity to provide servant leadership as president and CEO of Wings of Hope.

Our mission is simple, yet profound. We are an aviation nonprofit delivering humanitarian programs around the globe to lift people in need toward self-sufficiency. Our work extends to 26 states and across 11 countries outside of the U.S. From Cincinnati to Kenya, we use our airplanes, our expertise and our love of humanity to change and save lives, and we have done so for 55 years.

As we look ahead to the next half-century of the Wings of Hope story, we are reminded of the words of one of our founders, Joe Fabick: “In the years ahead, Wings of Hope will continue to provide services exactly as they always have: free of charge as an inter-faith organization serving the cause of international brotherhood.”

In honoring the legacy of our founders, my vision is to build new partnerships, engage new generations of volunteers, and collaborate with our current donors and new investors to promote self-sufficiency and sustainability wherever it is needed throughout the world.

This is no small task. The need is seemingly endless, and there will be daunting obstacles. But my spirit is lifted by the incredible dedication of our volunteers and staff and all those who believe in the power of hope and the calling to love. Join us in the movement.

Bret Heinrich,
President & CEO

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