Removing barriers to medical care!
Angel Flight Soars, a nonprofit that coordinates free air transportation for people with medical needs that can’t be filled in their own area, reached an all-time high in 2021 when a pool of 1,300 volunteer pilots flew 3,700 missions.
“This year we’re on track to top it,” says Executive Director Jeanine Chambers, who took over the helm of the organization in 1999 along with her mother, Bernadette Darnell, director of operations. Each mission takes 15 to 35 interactions with various people involved, and together they’ve coordinated more than 50,000.
Based at DeKalb-Peachtree Airport, the organization also steps in during national disasters. “During COVID-19, one of the biggest challenges was getting test specimens to labs to expedite results,” says Chambers. “Three hundred pilots quickly mobilized and flew to labs in the Southeast seven days a week. We also partner with Be The Match, a global network, to fly bone marrow to transplant patients.”
A volunteer pilot for the last 12 years, Buckhead real estate developer Bryan Eastman flew critical patients and specimens throughout the pandemic. “We never stopped,” he says. “I was burned when I was 10 making a campfire that got out of control, and I have an affinity for burn patients. One of my favorite passengers was a 3-year old who tripped into a campfire. When a little person is struggling, I’m happy to do anything that takes the burden off families.”
ANGEL FLIGHT SOARS
Contributing Writer, Simply Buckhead; journalist and graphic designer