Flight Operations Manager Karen Andrews has been scheduling flights and patient schedules for the MAT Program since she joined the Wings of Hope family in 2013. Karen is the liaison who coordinates medical appointments, flights, accommodations and travel between the Wings of Hope flight crew, hospital staff and patients and their families. Wings of Hope President and CEO Bret Heinrich calls her “the glue to the MAT Program.” But our pilots just think of her as “mom.”
“We all call Karen ‘mom’ and for good reason,” said Dick Horowitz, who recently retired as chief pilot for the MAT Program (see story page 3). “She has eyes everywhere. Whatever we do, she knows about it whether we tell her or not.”
Reacting to the news that Karen would be leaving Wings of Hope at the end of May to travel with her husband, Rusty, to serve as missionaries helping refugees in Greece, Dick said: “It would be a dramatic understatement to express how much I will miss working with her on a daily basis. But it’s for a good cause and our loss will be Greece’s gain. I’m sure she’ll do wonderful things.” Speaking for the current crew of MAT pilots, Randy Schuermann praised Karen’s service and compassion for the people Wings of Hope flies. He recalled how frequently patients and families mention Karen by name.
“From a pilot’s standpoint, when you pick up a patient and her name is mentioned so many times and with such kind words — she’s really an extremely valuable asset and she will be greatly missed,” Randy said.
For her part, Karen said she is “really excited” about joining the missionaries in Greece and that she has been “blessed with so many sweet memories with all the volunteers, patients and staff — past and present.”
In her eight years with Wings of Hope, she estimates that she has coordinated more than 1,000 flights helping several hundred patients.
“My favorite memories are every single time I looked out the window over my desk and watched a MAT plane taxiing back in returning from a mission. Everyone where they needed to be, safe and sound. It is such a privilege to be part of that.”