The Veterans Airlift Command says, “THEY'VE GOT HEART...THEY NEED WINGS”
I was hard at work today when I saw a tweet from a friend and decided to find out more! Ever follow your gut and realize that you did the right thing later? Stephanie, a Marine Corps spouse asked if I had ever heard of Veteran Airlift Command and I said no, but let me check this out. A pilot is always curious about aircraft stories and this one sounded interesting. Supporting veterans has a real ring in my ears! Jumping to Veterans Airlift Command’s website and blog I found some great information about some real patriots! Yep patriots! Say it again, these guys are patriots!
Next thing you know I am on the phone with Walter Fricke, the founder of Veterans Airlift Command, to find out more! He had quickly responded to my email and my phone call and gave me the chance to ask questions and hear a bit about him. A Vietnam veteran, Walt decided to support today’s veterans and their families by starting a service in 2006 to “… provide air transportation for medical and other compassionate purposes to wounded warriors, veterans, and their families through a national network of volunteer aircraft owners and pilots.” They flew their first mission on November 6th, 2006. Today they have 1,500 aircraft/pilots who donate their time and aircraft that have moved 1,900 wounded warriors and family members. He described their operation as “High in Compassion and Low in Red Tape!”.
During our discussion we agreed that efforts like Veterans Airlift Command and MilitaryAvenue.com are like a salve/healing for Vietnam era veterans like ourselves who were not treated well by many of our countrymen. I remember thinking that I would never accept that sort of treatment again – afraid to wear our uniforms on commercial aircraft or in public. In fact, told not too by our superiors! Today we see a much different effort to recognize and support our veterans.
He described the story of an injured veteran dealing with airline travel, security procedures, etc and some of the frustrations that Veterans Airlift Command avoids with door to door service for those who deserve our support! He said it “is not charity, its payback” for their service. They flew a mission today from Dallas to Louisville for a wounded warrior and they can move families to veterans who are unable to travel due to their injuries. Do not be afraid to call or email! They want to help you or someone you know! I linked to their blog and website above but here is the phone number and email address for further information as well! By the way you could spend hours on the blog listening/watching/reading the stories of wounded warriors and the lives they touch! It is a wonderful effort to tell their story!
Veterans Airlift Command
5775 Wayzata Boulevard, Suite 700
St. Louis Park, MN 55416
Thank you Walter is not enough, but it is a start! God Bless our wounded warriors and their families!