Should members of the LSU Board of Supervisors disclose who receives their scholarships?|
Story Archives: Pilots for Patients hits milestone with 200th flight
- 2013 - 801 articles
- 2012 - 1954 articles
- 2011 - 2029 articles
- 2010 - 2139 articles
- 2009 - 2066 articles
- 2008 - 1757 articles
- December 2008 - 146 articles
- December 31st, 2008 (Wednesday) - 13 articles
- December 30th, 2008 (Tuesday) - 8 articles
- December 25th, 2008 (Thursday) - 8 articles
- December 24th, 2008 (Wednesday) - 13 articles
- December 23rd, 2008 (Tuesday) - 7 articles
- December 22nd, 2008 (Monday) - 1 articles
- December 21st, 2008 (Sunday) - 1 articles
- December 18th, 2008 (Thursday) - 10 articles
- December 17th, 2008 (Wednesday) - 8 articles
- December 16th, 2008 (Tuesday) - 4 articles
- December 13th, 2008 (Saturday) - 1 articles
- December 11th, 2008 (Thursday) - 15 articles
- December 10th, 2008 (Wednesday) - 10 articles
- December 9th, 2008 (Tuesday) - 4 articles
- December 7th, 2008 (Sunday) - 2 articles
- December 6th, 2008 (Saturday) - 2 articles
- December 5th, 2008 (Friday) - 10 articles
- December 4th, 2008 (Thursday) - 15 articles
- December 3rd, 2008 (Wednesday) - 10 articles
- December 2nd, 2008 (Tuesday) - 3 articles
- December 1st, 2008 (Monday) - 1 articles
- November 2008 - 147 articles
- October 2008 - 232 articles
- September 2008 - 189 articles
- August 2008 - 126 articles
- July 2008 - 147 articles
- June 2008 - 111 articles
- May 2008 - 147 articles
- April 2008 - 141 articles
- March 2008 - 125 articles
- February 2008 - 135 articles
- January 2008 - 111 articles
|Pilots for Patients hits milestone with 200th flight|
It has been a very busy year for Monroe pilot Philip Thomas.
Less than a year after founding Pilots 4 Patients, Thomas joined a dedicated band of volunteers gathered at Monroe Air Center recently to watch as Clyde White steered the organization's 200th flight across the tarmac.
White, chairman of Ouachita Independent Bank, volunteered both his time and his six-seat, single engine Bonanza to ferry a couple from Monroe to Houston's M. D. Anderson Medical Center for cancer treatment.
White said he made the trip, and several others like it, because patients needed help.
"You've got to recognize there is a need," said White. "Then you've got to recognize that you have the talent or the wherewithal to help someone in need and to make a difference."
That was the driving force behind the creation of Pilots 4 Patients, according to Thomas.
Thomas has flown more than 40 flights, or missions as the organization calls the trips, to hospitals in cities throughout the South, including locales such as Houston, Dallas and Birmingham.
The organization started with just a handful of pilots but quickly grew. Thomas said now there are 48 pilots and four co-pilots registered to fly and more express interest every day.
"I knew there was a real need in the community and there wasn't enough patient outreach going on," Thomas said. "We felt like if we could get the word out, we'd be able to help bring that about."
While he understood the need for the organization, Thomas said the rapid growth and success surpassed what he was expecting.
Since its first flight Jan. 14, 2008, Pilots 4 Patients has completed 211 air and ground missions, ferrying patients in need of transportation to sometimes lifesaving medical care.
Aside from flying missions, Thomas also donated time to Pilots 4 Patients – his time and the time of his employees and spouse.
His wife, Sharon, serves as one of the main points of contact between patients and pilots while employees at his paper supply company work to coordinate flights, answer telephones and help make sure passengers have transportation waiting at their destinations.
Ground transportation from the airport to the various hospitals is coordinated with a separate organization, Ground Angels.
Ground Angel volunteers meet planes at the airport and drive patients from the plane to their hospitals or hotels.
Both Pilots 4 Patients and the Ground Angels network of volunteers give their time and resources, covering the fuel costs themselves.
White estimated it cost $120 an hour to put a plane in the air, including fuel costs. On a typical four-hour round trip to Houston, a pilot could expend as much as $480.
Though he is frequently unavailable to make flights because of a hectic work schedule, White said he's glad when he can volunteer his time and his plane.
"It's something that needs to be done," White said. "It's the same reason we drop money at the kettle at the grocery store."
White suggested more pilots should register as volunteers because, many times, the flights line up with trips they already had planned.
"It might be something they could do and not be putting themselves out of time or out some expense," White said.
White said Pilots 4 Patients is filling a critical role in the community. He credited Thomas with the organization's explosive growth.
"He makes a lot of the flight and spends a great deal of time promoting it and putting it together," White said. "This would never have happened without Philip Thomas and he deserves all the credit."
Not one to rest on his laurels, Thomas said he's already working on future plans for the group, including continued growth in 2009, when Thomas said he expects the organization to double in size.
"We're trying to find more people in those areas to act as liaisons, even if they aren't pilots, who are in tune with the community to help us grow throughout the state and throughout the region," Thomas said.
Regional growth is something Thomas has not wasted time on. Already, the organization has representatives in Tennessee, recruiting volunteers and flying patients.
Thomas said his long-held motto is one of the driving forces behind the organization.
"I start off talking to people by asking, 'Do we make a difference in people's lives?'" Thomas said.
With the growth and success of Pilots 4 Patients, however, Thomas suggested people start asking themselves a different question.
"Do we make a difference in someone's life every day?" Thomas said.