Community Spotlight: Andrew of PAINT Philadelphia Interviews Ellen Williams of Angel Flight East
1501 Narcissa Road
Blue Bell, PA 19422
What are people saying about Angel Flight East?
Andrew Tomasetti: 0:00
Hello, and welcome to today's community spotlight, where I interview local companies that I know and trust and introduce them to you. I'm your host, Andrew Tomasetti. And today I'm here with Alan Williams, of Angel Flight East. Thanks for joining us.
Ellen Williams: 0:15
Thanks, Andrew. Thanks for this opportunity.
Andrew Tomasetti: 0:17
Absolutely. So tell us a little bit about Angel Flight East.
Ellen Williams: 0:21
Sure. Angel Flight East is a nonprofit dedicated to providing free air transportation for children and adults who need medical treatment far from home. That is the main service that we offer, there are two others. One is disaster relief. And that's actually how we got started. It was a private pilot who wanted to assist after Hurricane Andrew in Florida in 1992. And during his conversations with the Red Cross about how he could use his general aviation skills, he learned about public benefit flying, which is what we do for free air transportation.
And the third area is called a compassion flight. And that could be a veteran who needs to get somewhere to perhaps visit family that he wouldn't have been able to do so otherwise, could be a family member who wants to go provide assistance to somebody who's in the hospital. So compassionate flights can mean many different things. The primary service though, is the air transportation for medical treatment.
Andrew Tomasetti: 1:26
Okay. And now, how did you get involved with Angel Flight?
Ellen Williams: 1:31
So that was one of those situations that started out with a difficult situation that became the best thing probably that has happened to me, career wise. I had been working for the Boy Scouts in Chester County, and there was some staff cutbacks, and my position was one of those that was cut. And I was a single mom with a one child in college and two, two daughters at home.
And I thought, What am I going to do? I've been in nonprofits my whole career. And so I just sent out a, I sent out an email to my network. And a friend of mine from a brief stint with United Way said, do you know about Angel Flight East and so I was I think, put me in contact. They happen to be looking for an executive director at that moment. And the rest is history. So nine years later, here I am.
Andrew Tomasetti: 2:26
Awesome. Now what's one thing everybody should know about Angel Flight.
Ellen Williams: 2:31
That there is free air transportation available for people who need medical treatment far from home that this is not too good to be true? It's the real deal. And all you have to do is contact us and we'll tell you how it works.
Andrew Tomasetti: 2:46
I remember when I first heard about you, I said, What's the catch? What's the game that yes, well, yes, it's really free. And then, after maybe like two or three months, I was finally convinced that it is not too good to be true.
Ellen Williams: 3:00
Yeah, we actually had an example of that from a conference. One of our staff members, Jess Ames attended last week, she met somebody she had an exhibit table at this rural health conference and talked to somebody who visited her table and seemed very interested in what we do. And then the next day when she was presenting came up to her after her presentation, where she had included the mom of a little boy that we fly. And he came up to Jess afterwards and said, I came to listen to make sure this was the truth. And there are a lot.
Andrew Tomasetti: 3:38
And you said the pilots do their time on their plane, yes, everything.
Ellen Williams: 3:43
Andrew Tomasetti: 3:44
How do you find these incredible people?
Ellen Williams: 3:46
So general aviation pilots is a tight knit you out world. There are aviation boards online. And it's a shared love of aviation, so they know each other. And so they'll talk to one another. They know each other from the small airports, which is basically where we work from.
We cover 14 states, Ohio to Virginia to Maine, generally flying into small regional airports. And so the pilots tend to congregate in those places. And they know one another. The other way is when people are taking flight lessons, part of the flight instruction, they're told about public benefit flying. And so that's one of the ways that they come to us.
Andrew Tomasetti: 4:33
Awesome. And then my last question today is if you could have one message on a billboard, what would it say?
Ellen Williams: 4:41
Free air transportation for medical treatment far from home is available.
Andrew Tomasetti: 4:46
Ellen Williams: 4:46
Andrew Tomasetti: 4:48
Awesome. And if someone does want to contact you, what's the best way for them to reach it?
Ellen Williams: 4:53
So probably the best way would be to call the office area code 215-358-1900 or check come to our website angelflighteast.org
Andrew Tomasetti: 5:04
Awesome, well thank you so much for coming.
Ellen Williams: 5:07
Thanks Andrew, thank you for the opportunity
Andrew Tomasetti: 5:09
Absolutely. This has been another community spotlight where I interview local companies that I know and like and introduce them to you.