Northern Michigan to the Mayo Clinic on Wings of Mercy

I am writing this from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. My significant other is at this incredible facility to have a medical procedure he has needed as many as four times a year for over four years. I am grateful and honored to write that we flew here courtesy of a program called Wings of Mercy. Wings is one of those incredible flashes of inspiration that puts people together to solve problems.  The problem in this case is people in the Great Lakes Region who need chronic, specialized medical care at places like the Mayo Clinic and University of Michigan and just plain need help getting there: like my SO, Steve. The Wings’ solution is private plane pilots who donate their time and planes to take patients where they need to go.

Steve has told me about Wings and all the tremendous pilots who have flown him after he found out about the program—and finally realized it was just too much to drive back after a major medical procedure. But what a treat to experience the program myself.  Here’s a quick photo album of the trip over:

Steve in front of Harbour Air at Cherry Capital Airport before we left Traverse City.

Our pilots, John Olson and Rick Terzo, are from the suburbs of Chicago. What great Dudes! They are both pilots and both have planes—so they do the Wings program together, switching off in the pilot and co-pilot seats and taking turns using each others’ planes. They were fun and relaxed. We were all friends by the time we touched down in Rochester … of course maybe that’s because we brought along the …

Potter’s pecan rolls!!!!! Our pilots loved their taste of Traverse City! The flight was amazing. It was a beautiful day and we flew over the Sleeping Bear Dunes, Betsie Bay Lighthouse and across the big blue …

Here we are, just landed in Rochester: Rick, John, Steve and Lissa. Note the Medivac plane from Saudi Arabia in the back. You want to heal the world? Look to Mayo …

And flying back to Northern Michigan:Captain George Schraft and Co-Captain Chip Clark shown here with Steve.

Captain George ready for takeoff:

The trip home was wonderful.  It was great getting to know George and Chip. The view out the plane was an inspiration: Sun over North and South Manitou Islands, rain off Point Betsie. A rainbow stretched between the islands and mainland was the perfect punctuation to our journey.

Grace—one of the wonderful women who helps facilitate the flights—told me at a recent pancake breakfast fundraiser in Traverse City that they could handle more patients from Northern Michigan. They know there’s a need; the word just needs to be spread that help could be on the way. So, if you know anyone who is making those arduous trips to Mayo or U of M by car, send them here: Wings of Mercy.

P.S. If you want to donate to a worthy cause, Wings foots the fuel bills for the trips … again Wings of Mercy.

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