The lunch was delicious. They had lots of door prizes. Jeanie won four tickets to Conner Prairie that includes a hot air balloon ride. Lyn won a beautiful potted plant.
After lunch, the guest speaker was introduced. Hal Blank is the CEO and a pilot for Grace On Wings.
Grace On Wings is a non-profit public charity organization under IRS code 501(c)(3) that provides charity air ambulance services within the United States. Grace on Wings was founded in 2006 when a group of volunteers responded to a call that could save lives. Since then, the ministry has served many patients and families in crisis.
Hal explained a lot about how he discovered the need and then how difficult it was to get properly licensed and able to meet all the requirements of the medical and aviation rules and guidelines.
He explained that they were providing an airplane/ambulance. An example might be if someone from Indianapolis was on vacation in Florida and suffered a stroke or heart attack. They would be given good care at a local hospital. Once they are released from the hospital, they will need more assistance in returning to Indianapolis. Grace On Wings provides an airplane and proper medical assistance for the trip.
This is the only non-profit air/ ambulance service in the United States. The costs for each flight are carefully explained to the family and the families can use several ways to get donations and support to cover the costs of the flight.
Hal told us that Grace On Wings had an office and their plane was housed at The Indianapolis Municipal Airport. At some point, the rent increased, and he began looking for another location. Their office is now located at 5128 E. Stop 11 Road and their airplane is now at The Indy South Greenwood Airport. I was very surprised to find out that this special service was located in our backyards
We learned that almost every flight is different based on the needs of the patient. A person that was in a bad accident and suffered burns and broken bones would need different assistance than someone that suffered a stroke or had heart problems. Many times, when a young child is the patient, parents are also traveling with them.
Grace on Wings has a website and also has a Facebook account. There is a lot more information available. I read on the website that they have completed over seven hundred missions and traveled over one million miles.
During the part of his presentation, folks could ask questions, a lady asked what the longest trip was they had flown with a patient on-board. Hal explained that it was a flight from Daytona Beach, Florida to Seattle, Washington. They had to stop to refuel a couple of times.
As I listened to him explaining that long trip, it occurred to me that they also flew from Indianapolis to Daytona Beach and later from Seattle back to Indianapolis.
All the folks at the Christmas Party seemed to be very impressed and pleased to welcome Mr. Hal Blank and his Grace On Wings organization to our neighborhood.
Shonk is a 1960 graduate of Southport High School, a ’63 grad of Indiana Central College (now the University of Indianapolis) and a retired bus driver from Beech Grove Schools. He can be reached through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.