Newsletter

Newsletter2019-01-07T13:15:07+00:00

FROM THE PRESIDENT

46,000 lives.

This is the number of people we directly served through our international programs and US-based Medical Relief & Air Transport (MAT) last year. While that’s an impressive number, it doesn’t mean as much until you take a closer look. Recently, I was able to do just that.

This past summer, I visited five international field sites to see our work firsthand. Inside these pages you will find a recap of my travels to Africa and South America. If I can sum up what I took away from these trips, it is this: the work we are doing to serve people in need around the globe is something that we can all take great pride in.

This knowledge of how we are reaching people that can be reached no other way —underscored by the work of our volunteers, board, staff and key stakeholders during our recent strategic planning process — creates a sense of urgency around our new mission statement: Wings of Hope changes and saves lives through the power of aviation.

With these words as our beacon moving forward, we are committed to forging new partnerships around the world — and I look forward to sharing news with you about two new developing partnerships in South America.

It is also full steam ahead here at home. In this newsletter, you will read the story of 8-year-old Claire, a former MAT patient who is a happy, healthy third-grader thanks to the life-saving care she received as a toddler. Seeing how our flights transform the lives of children like Claire encourages us to go further — to reach even more folks who need access to specialized medical care. With encouragement and guidance from our board of directors and strategic planning committee, our team is exploring the best ideas for expanding the reach and impact of the MAT program.

It’s exciting times at Wings of Hope. I look forward to navigating them with you.

Bret Heinrich,
President & CEO

FIELD NOTES:
DELIVERING HEALTH CARE IN TANZANIA & ZAMBIA

When Wings of Hope President and CEO Bret Heinrich visited Tanzania this past June, he was able to join our longtime partner Flying Medical Service (FMS) on their fly-in medical clinics serving Maasai women and children. FMS flies doctors into 25 Maasai communities, visiting each settlement every two weeks to provide pre- and post-natal care for mothers and vaccinations for babies. They also weigh the babies, using a scale hanging from a plane wing, to make sure they are gaining sufficient weight through nursing. Mothers of underweight babies are given a mixture of powder and vitamins that they can make into a drink for their babies called “Plumpy.” Wings of Hope mechanic, Bill Patterson, joined Bret on the trip to perform an annual inspection on the FMS plane.

Next, Bret traveled to Zambia to visit with our partner FlySpec, the country’s only orthopedic, reconstructive and plastic surgery organization. In 2017, FlySpec offered medical care to nearly 5,000 individuals and performed 1,388 surgeries. During his trip, Bret observed a surgery at a local field hospital.

FIELD NOTES:
POTENTIAL PARTNERSHIPS IN SOUTH AMERICA

In August, Bret continued his field-site visits in South America, joined by Wings of Hope mechanic Curtis Kelley.

First stop Paraguay: Our field director, Cliff Schisler, uses a 1959 Cessna 175 to support the Guarani people with medevac services, health and dental clinics, food and other assistance. Bret and Curtis joined Cliff on one clinic where they fed 600 people.

Then it was on to Ecuador to meet with Alas de Socorro del Ecuador (ADSE) — which translates to Wings of Help — an organization that provides medevac support to the Waorani people in the Amazon jungle.

When they landed a Waorani village, the Wings of Hope crew was greeted by Grandpa Dyuwi, one of the oldest living members of the Waorani. Every time a relief plane lands, Dyuwi rushes out to pray with the pilot and gives thanks to God for his safe arrival. The irony is that Dyuwi was part of a killing party that cut down five missionaries, including Nate Saint, one of the very first pilots who tried to provide assistance to the Waorani in the 1950s. Since that horrific day more than 60 years ago, Dyuwi has dedicated his life to making amends by welcoming all relief pilots who have come since.

Wings of Hope has a long history in Ecuador. We are excited to start the next chapter as we move toward a partnership with ADSE. We are also in talks with Centa, a group that operates a job skills training center on land originally donated by Nate Saint. Our involvement will be supporting ADSE’s medical relief flights into and out of the jungle, as well as flying Waorani to Centa to participate in job skills training.

Before leaving South America, Bret and Curtis visited Colombia to observe how local organizations are providing health care to the indigenous people and explore opportunities for expanding into this region in the future.

To see photos from all of Bret’s summer travels, visit our photo Gallery at wingsofhope.ngo/media/gallery.

WoH VOLUNTEER IS HONORED AS AGELESS REMARKABLE

Our own Jay Rickmeyer, who has been volunteering in our hangar going on 18 years, was honored on October 20 by the St. Andrews Charitable Foundation as an Ageless Remarkable St. Louisan. The award recognizes individuals, 75 and older, who are making a tremendous impact in St. Louis through philanthropy, volunteerism and leadership.

News anchor Mike Bush of KSDK NewsChannel 5 stopped by to interview 79-year-old Jay about his service to Wings of Hope, his many years flying U.S. medical air transport missions (more than 220!), and the hundreds of children he has helped along the way — including a little girl named Claire.

Now eight, Claire was only 18 months old when we started flying her from St. Louis to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital for treatment of HLH, a rare autoimmune disorder. Jay remembers Claire from the nine Wings of Hope flights she took during her treatment. It has been four years since Claire’s last Wings of Hope flight — and she is doing great!

Wings of Hope president and CEO Bret Heinrich called Jay “the heart and soul of our domestic program.”

“He’s here working every day, really before anyone else arrives and stays many nights until everyone else is gone,” Bret said.

Always more comfortable shining the spotlight on others, Jay’s response to the award was true to form: “Mine is really a minor role. It’s the medical professionals that make miracles.”

FALL RAFFLE SELLS OUT IN FOUR HOURS – RAISES $260K!

All 4,000 tickets to our September 17 airplane raffle sold out in four hours! We continue to be blown away by the popularity of our raffles — and the generosity of our ticket buyers. Most important, this raffle generated more than $260,000 which will go directly to support our U.S.-based Medical Relief & Air Transport Program. Thank you to everyone who bought a ticket!

SPRING RAFFLE PLANE DELIVERED

Brian Franz of Texas is the grand prize winner and proud new owner of the Cessna 172 we raffled off in April. Brian has purchased tickets to several of our raffles, including the most recent one in September. He is thrilled with his new wings and plans to continue participating in our raffles because he knows the money supports our medical air transport program. Our chief RDM (retrieval, delivery and maintenance flights) pilot, Don Hoerstkamp, delivered the plane to our happy winner. Congratulations, Brian!

LAURA GODWIN INSPIRES AT WoH LADIES LUNCHEON

As a three-time Emmy award winning broadcast journalist and owner of her own communications firm, we had high expectations for our Ladies Luncheon speaker this past June — and she did not disappoint!

Laurna Godwin inspired everyone with her interactive talk about “being authentically you.” Here is what Laurna spoke about, in her own words:

“The way we present ourselves to our family, our friends, and our community is a gift we give to them. That’s why it’s always important to strive to be our best selves and our authentic selves.

“Do not try to be someone you are not, and certainly do not try to be someone that someone else wants you to be!”

Words to live by!

TASTE OF HOPE BRINGS FOOD, FUN & FRIENDS TO THE HANGAR

The second annual Taste of Hope drew 300 people to the Wings of Hope hangar on Saturday, October 6, for an afternoon of noshing on tasty samples from Vito’s in the Valley, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Zen Thai & Japanese Cuisine, El Burro Loco, Mayuri, Mango, Double G Ham, Viviano’s Festa Italiano, Hearth Room Café, The Croquetterie and Smoothie King. Granite City Food & Brewery, Urban Chestnut and O’Fallon Brewery offered craft beer, and Major Brands supplied the wine. Best of all, the event raised $15,000 to support our international health projects, including lifesaving surgeries in Zambia. Thank you to sponsors Joe-K Used Cars, MBM Wealth Consultants, First National Bank, Ben & Betty Adams and presenting sponsor Dierbergs! Check out more fun photos on the Young Ambassadors of Wings of Hope Facebook page or at wingsofhope.ngo.

GSLBAA GOLF TOURNAMENT & TRIVIA NIGHT BENEFIT WoH

Every year, Wings of Hope is the fortunate beneficiary of two fundraising events hosted by the Greater St. Louis Business Aviation Association, or GSLBAA. This past summer, GSLBAA’s annual golf tournament and trivia night resulted in a $29,000 gift to Wings of Hope’s U.S. Medical Relief & Air Transport Program. To cap it off, Team Wings of Hope took first place in the B Flight of the golf tournament — and the Wings of Hope Young Ambassadors’ table took home the first place trophy at trivia night! Thank you, GSLBAA!

WoH REPRESENTS IN AMERICA’S PARADE

Future Wings of Hope pilot, Mason, led the Wings of Hope balloon down the streets of St. Louis in America’s Birthday Parade. We fly Mason to St. Louis Children’s Hospital for treatment of clubfeet and he makes the entire Wings of Hope family smile whenever he’s in town. On his last visit, Mason gifted us a copy of his new book, “In My Feet.” Mason wrote and illustrated the book, which tells the story of his battle with clubfeet and how Wings of Hope has helped him on his journey to walking. So proud of this young author and future aviator!

IT’S ANNUAL APPEAL TIME!

By now, you should have received our annual appeal in the mail. This simple mailing has become one of our most successful fundraisers. Our 2017 annual appeal raised $130,717.08. Your generosity continues to surpass our expectations, and we hope will consider a gift this year.

Wings of Hope is 100% donation driven, and every dollar you give makes our work possible. Just $10 pays to vaccinate a child in Africa. A $26 gift helps pay for an emergency medical flight in Belize or Paraguay. $600 fills the tank for a one-way medical air transport flight in the U.S. Every gift, large or small, supports our mission of changing and saving lives through the power of aviation.

To learn more or give online, go to the Annual Appeal page.

Thank you!

HOW DO YOU WANT TO BE REMEMBERED?

Imagine if you could support the causes you care about, even after you are gone. A thoughtful planned giving process can have powerful benefits for the both you and Wings of Hope. Planned giving is a great way to support your financial goals, while making a significant impact on our ability to fulfill our mission well into the future.

Go to the Planned Giving page for more information.

HERBET A. & ADRIAN W. WOODS FOUNDATION SUPPORTS MAT

Thank you to the Herbert A. & Adrian W. Woods Foundation for their $11,000 grant supporting our MAT program. This family foundation has a long history of giving in the St. Louis community — and their grant will allow us to continue flying children like Elizabeth to lifechanging medical care!

ISTAT FOUNDATION AWARDS $6,000 TO SUPPORT PARAGUAY

The ISTAT Foundation awarded Wings of Hope $6,000 to support our work providing health care, food and educational programming to 16 indigenous communities in Paraguay. The grant will offset the field site’s annual aviation fuel and parts costs. Thank you, ISTAT Foundation!

MACY’S GIVES BACK

Thank you, Macy’s, for donating nearly $1,500 to Wings of Hope through Macy’s Gives Back. So grateful to Joe Buehrer, the entire Macy’s Chesterfield Mall team and everyone who rounded up their purchase for Wings of Hope during the first two weeks of August!

KATIE’S PIZZA & PASTA GIVEBACK TUESDAY!

Thank you Katie’s Pizza & Pasta Osteria for your generous Giveback Tuesday donation to Wings of Hope! On June 26, a hearty crowd of Wings of Hope family and friends braved the stormy weather to enjoy Katie’s delicious Italian cuisine — and Katie’s donated 100% of the day’s proceeds to Wings of Hope.

ISLAND HOPPING KITCHEN TOUR RAISES $2,000 FOR WoH

St. Louis Homes + Lifestyles Magazine hosted a tour of some of the St. Louis area’s most beautifully designed kitchens — and donated 100% of the ticket sales to Wings of Hope. Beyond the generous $2,000 donation, the tour was a fantastic awareness-building opportunity, exposing dozens of individuals to the Wings of Hope mission. Thank you, St. Louis Homes + Lifestyles!

BOEING INVESTS IN NEW STEM PROGRAM

Boeing awarded Wings of Hope $79,896 to support Soar into STEM. The pilot program, set to launch in 2019, will engage local high school students in hands-on aviation engineering to pique their interest in STEM and aviation careers. The grant supports Boeing’s commitment to developing tomorrow’s innovators by investing in STEM education, workforce development and the 21st century skills required in today’s modern workplace. Thank you, Boeing!

SAVE THE DATE: 2019 ANNUAL DINNER AUCTION & GALA

Go to the Gala event page for more information.

THANK YOU FOR HONORING THE PEOPLE YOU CARE ABOUT WITH A WINGS OF HOPE TRIBUTE GIFT …

Honorarium and memorial gifts are a wonderful way to celebrate and honor the people who are special in our lives. Wings of Hope is the humble recipient of hundreds of these tribute gifts annually. Those individuals who have included us in their estate plans are recognized in our Legacy Society. If you are interested in finding out how you can include Wings of Hope in your legacy and estate planning, please email Laura Helling at laura.helling@wingsofhope.ngo or call 636-537-1302.

In
Honor Of…

David Carpenter

  • Michele Bridge

Everest Finn

  • Joli Pate

Charlotte Headrick

  • Lelia J. Headrick

Anne Heinrich

  • Bret Heinrich

David Hopkins

  • Bob Welker

Linda Wallace Jones

  • Richard & Linda Jones

Owen Kehrer

  • Paul Maro Johnson

Payton Manning

  • Marilyn Black
  • Linda Manning

Don H. & Sally Morton

  • Anonymous

Dave Pogorzelski

  • Michael & Joan Landgraf

Jay Rickmeyer

  • Richard Denda
  • John Huston & Kim Skrainka
  • Mark D. & Anne (Lisa) Rickmeyer

Jack Weitz

  • Diane Pfeiffer

In
Memory Of…

Bruce Baker

  • Lois Haller

Charles Bourneuf

  • Edward V. Bourneuf
  • Hallmark Cards, Inc.
  • Pfizer, Inc.

John C. Herweg

  • John & Nancy Walters

Leonard Jaeger

  • Central Mine Equipment Co.
  • Brian Heuckroth

Paul Johnson

  • Richard D. Allen
  • Greg & Kathy Bullock
  • Carol Childs
  • Cory & Stephen Christie
  • Teri Cohen
  • Michael & Brenda Edgington
  • Michael & Claire Fisher
  • Judy Hays
  • Alex Henderson
  • Dennis Myers
  • Shirley Rouse
  • John Strain, II

Janet Kreitman

  • Arnold Kreitman

Rose Kreitman

  • Suzy Seldin
  • Beverly & David Wrobel

Rosalind Lamb

  • Bob Fry

Esther Levine

  • Beverly & David Wrobel

Kevin Lowrey

  • Julie Lowery

George Paul Menos

  • Michael Kontominas
  • Alexander Rogers
  • Sakis Salas
  • William & Amy Laycock

Michael & Jacob Metzger

  • Gernatt Asphalt Products, Inc
  • Mary Strickfaden
  • Nadia Sebastian
  • The Welsh Family
  • Mark Sebastian

Joe Mills

  • Felicia Sapp
  • Florene Kramper
  • Nadine Boyd
  • Ron & Debra Peck
  • Vickie Dunn
  • Mark & Nancy Melliere

Landon Michael Moore

  • Susan Harrison

Norman L. Morrisette

  • John & Jewell Ries
  • Rickey & Teresa Oeth
  • Tabitha Kennedy
  • Jeffrey Ryan
  • Gary & Paula Smith
  • Christopher & Leslie Heilig
  • Anonymous
  • Michelle L. Sabin
  • Michael & Jewell Coulson
  • Elizabeth Jouglard
  • James & Cheryl Cochran
  • T. & B. Shively
  • Tony & Virginia Thompson
  • Ryan J. Cochran
  • Frank & Umeko Shiflet
  • Mark & Linda Morris
  • James & Patricia Daniel
  • Roger & Anna Perret
  • John & Verdonna Otey

Lester Muckerman

  • Joseph & Carol Honich
  • Marilyn Davis
  • Jim & Carol Kron
  • Timothy Murray
  • Paul & Mary Ann Hunker, Jr.
  • Gertrude Steiger
  • Ken Nettleton
  • Ruth Marie Eggers
  • Tom & Pam Fichter
  • Carissa Torres-Cruz

Bill Nehrt

  • Sue Centko

Jim Rosso

  • Susan Stewart

Harry Sablotny

  • Judith Vogt

James Leo Smith

  • Anthony & Susan Tumminello

George Tichacek

  • Jan Debenport

Janet Marie Torrisi-Mokwa

  • John G. Bell

Hannah Watson

  • Carole Watson

Mason Wienke

  • John & Marie McCutcheon
  • Carla Wienke

Edward Zanck

  • Arnold Kreitman

This list is for gifts received from 4/26/18 through 10/15/18.

Are you a Thrivent member? If yes, Wings of Hope needs you! See how you can make a difference, check out this link or call Laura Helling at 636-537-1302.