Recently, Dave Brown and I delivered N206KY, a Cessna 206, to Belize. We are loaning the aircraft to the Belize Emergency Response Team (BERT) to fill in for their Cherokee Six aircraft that was damaged in a landing incident. Dave will be serving as BERT’s interim volunteer pilot this summer.
TJ Stewart, our pilot currently serving in Nicaragua, will take over as our pilot in Belize in late August or early September. We will turn over our base in Nicaragua to three families serving with Adventist World Aviation (AWA). We are also preparing two Cessna C182 aircraft for AWA in Nicaragua. This will allow AWA to serve an even broader swath of indigent communities on the Miskito coast region of Nicaragua. We are excited to hear about their expanded service!
TJ’s new post in Belize will mark his third tour of duty as a volunteer pilot with Wings of Hope. His first service was in Tanzania, where he conducted flying medical clinics with Flying Medical Service. TJ then returned to St. Louis to complete his commercial pilot’s license and emergency medical technician certification. Ready to get back in the field, he arrived in Nicaragua in February 2015 to take over the duties of Clint and Marilyn Hanley, who served faithfully there for seven years.
When TJ starts his newest mission in Belize, he will be continuing a relationship that began 30 years ago with Wings of Hope establishing an emergency air evacuation capability. BERT now runs this service, providing all land and air ambulance service in Belize. BERT flies about 250 emergency flights each year, saving valuable time – and lives – for emergency patients. Our involvement is providing them volunteer pilots and assisting in the annual inspection of the airplane.
Every time I visit one of our international bases or see an MAT flight take off from our U.S. headquarters, it reinforces for me why we do what we do. We really are making a difference in the lives of those in need. As we make these changes in personnel and planes, we pray for successful transitions – and look forward to continued lifesaving service to the peoples of Nicaragua and Belize.