As we enter our busiest season here at Wings of Hope, I sometimes wonder if Mother Nature is having a little chuckle at our expense — shortening the days just when it seems as if there are never enough hours to accomplish all that we need to do.
In just a few short months — mark your calendars for February 11! — we will celebrate our single biggest fundraising event: the 15th annual Hope Is Where the Heart Is Gala benefitting our MAT Program. We just wrapped up our second airplane raffle, an incredibly successful fundraiser that brought in more than $170,000 for our MAT Program. And we are already seeing a wonderful response to our annual appeal. (See story page 3.)
The success of these fundraising activities is so very important to our work in the field, both here in the U.S. and around the world.
We flew 239 patients to life altering care via our MAT Program through the third quarter of this year. This puts us on track to serve more than 325 patients in 2016, compared to 267 in 2015.
Outside of the U.S., we began supporting an effort in Papua New Guinea to provide medical air transport to people who are literally cut off from all health care. We completed a successful transition of our medevac services in Nicaragua to our longtime partner, Adventist World Aviation (AWA). We provided the plane that AWA is now using to serve people living in remote villages, and we will send a second plane to Nicaragua upon completion of a plane rebuild by students participating in a STEM project. (See story page 3.) Our focus in Nicaragua has shifted to supporting a “chicken project” which will help feed children living at a local orphanage. We are grateful to our Young Ambassadors, who raised the $3,000 seed money to get this program “hatched” (pun intended). (See story page 2.) TJ Stewart, who was our pilot in Nicaragua, is now flying medical missions in Belize. As we continue to grow our education program with our partner in Cambodia, John Givonetti Giving, we helped secure a new field director to manage the day-to-day operations and improve our data collection and program evaluation methods.
As you can see, lots of good things are happening at Wings of Hope. When I put them down on paper, it can be a little overwhelming. But I am equally overwhelmed by the generous support of our donors and volunteers, who continue to open their hearts and their wallets to make all of these good things possible.