One of the programs happening at the Owosso Community Airport is called “Wings of Mercy.” The purpose of this program is to offer air transport at no cost to financially needy persons from Eastern Michigan who require specialized medical treatment at distant medical centers. Formed in 1995, Wings of Mercy East has flown 1,825 missions covering more than 1,153,170 miles. This includes 291 recipients assisted, 130 Michigan cities served, 121 volunteer aircraft and 322 volunteer pilots. One of the pilots flying out of the Owosso Community Airport is Jason Morford. Born and raised in Flushing, Jason started working at the Owosso Community Airport in 1990, washing airplanes, scheduling rentals, mowing, etc. He then enrolled in the Baker College Aviation Program and continued on to get his pilot’s license. From there, he worked at a company in Lansing that provided Cargo/Passenger Charters, next he worked for Air Wisconsin, flying a regional jet for United and U.S. Air and then in 2007 he went to work for UPS, where he flies a Boeing 757 and 767 internationally. Jason got involved in Wings of Mercy because of a friend. In 2009, he bought a plane that was capable of doing the trips and he had spare time because of his work schedule. “I thought, what a great thing to do,” Jason said. He is now one of four pilots that make mission trips out of Owosso Community Airport and his goal is to do at least one a month. He is now on the Wings of Mercy Board of Directors and is the Flight Safety Officer. He estimates that he has flown 40 to 50 missions since 2009. “The goal is to take someone to a specialist they wouldn’t otherwise have the ability to get to. Not to take away from local specialists. A lot of the cases are life threatening. Their lives depend on accessing distant care,” Jason said. Jason mentioned that the trips are completely free to the passengers and pilots do not accept donations. But, it is not an ambulance service either. Passengers must board and deplane themselves. They are allowed to have at least one family member with them on the trip. The passengers are flown in single and multi-engine airplanes. Most are owned by local pilots, some are donated by local corporations. Two volunteer pilots are aboard every flight. Patients needing air transportation to a medical facility must meet certain criteria to be eligible for Wings of Mercy services. These include medical need, physical condition and financial ability. To find out more, persons may visit or call (866) 32-MERCY. Wings of Mercy East is completely non-profit. It is run 100 percent by volunteers and 99.5 percent of funding goes to fuel for the airplanes. Funding is received from foundations, individuals and various fundraisers held throughout the year. They are always looking for additional support, whether it be volunteers, pilots or donations

Giving Wings To Those That Need was last modified: April 1st, 2015 by i60media