The crisp fall air has given over to the cold winter wind, signaling the end of 2015 — and what a year it has been for Wings of Hope!
We transitioned our leadership with my start as president in January and Steve Akre taking over as board chairman in July. We also welcomed Kelly Vaughn as our new CFO in August and Angela Walleman as director of administration in November.
We continued to grow our Medical Relief and Air Transport (MAT) Program, with October being our busiest month ever! Hats off to our outstanding volunteer pilots, nurses and patient flight advocates for handling this growth with grace and professionalism. Thanks to generous donations from Willard and Eileen Nickisch and Jack and Christa Taylor, we secured a second Seneca III aircraft in May, wellequipped with de-icing, radar and GPS navigation systems. This acquisition has been invaluable in our ability to respond to the uptick in MAT requests.
We also grew our international operations. Our pilot, TJ Stewart, opened a new base in Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua, in February. And we continued to support humanitarian aviation missions in Tanzania, Zambia, Belize, Papua New Guinea and Paraguay—qproviding annual aircraft inspections, parts, training and operational support. In Myanmar, Ecuador, Cambodia, Kenya and India, we helped lift impoverished people to new hope through humanitarian efforts in health care, sustainable food, education, microfinance and micro-enterprise.
As we continue our mission to serve others, it is important to share our stories with our supporters. Toward that end, we took a number of steps to reinvigorate the Wings of Hope brand in 2015. We redesigned this newsletter and our marketing collateral materials. We created a fresh look for our website that showcases the good work we do. We also ramped up our activity on social media, using it to tell our story to donors, volunteers and the people we serve.
We launched the Young Ambassadors of Wings of Hope in 2015. Led by Jessica Watson, this group appeals to young professionals, aged 21-45, with a heart for supporting our international programs. In a wonderful testament to the multi-generational support we enjoy, its members include a couple of grandchildren (Megan and Karsten Fabick) of one of our founders.
This year has been full and blessed for the Wings of Hope family. But amid all of this change, your heart to serve those in need has remained constant for over 53 years—proving that Where There are Wings, There is Hope!