Attendance was back up to 51% for the second week in a's good to see everyone again!
McRaymond invited Chris Hope from the Kansas City Flying Club. He is a retired military flight instructor who now spends time transporting patients and families on Angel Flights across the country. They call it Giving Hope Wings - Angel Flight Central  is a national organization that serves people in need in our communities by arranging charitable flights for access to health care and other humanitarian purposes. Chris will tell you it's just the right thing to do, "they are ordinary people dealing with extraordinary circumstances."
The KC Flying Club was once a military club through the Olathe Naval Air Station that served military personnel. It was a "little amenity" for active duty and retired soldiers. They used cast-off excess military planes, required only to maintain them and buy gas. Some were prop-driven Navy trainers. The club started out Navy and went through every branch of service until it finally became a civilian club. All of the planes went back to the military and now they have three civvies: a Cessna 172, a high wing 4-seater training airplane; an American Tiger, a 4-seater with a canopy and the opportunity to lean your arms out of the cockpit and glide; and a Beechcraft Debonair that goes 160-170 mph and makes cross-country jaunts. 
The 40 members share the costs associated with the club - 30 are active fliers - the rest simply dig flying. Chris Hope is the longest-term member. He graduated from Raytown South High School and went into the Air Force Academy during Vietnam where he discovered that flying was cool, so he kept on doing it. After his term was up, Chris was assigned back to the AF as a trainer. He had other options: not flying in South Korea, heading to the southern tip of Texas or Minot, ND. Teaching soldiers to fly single-engine planes in Colorado Springs didn't seem so bad. 
For more than 40 years he never had a second-thought. He enjoyed living his passion for flying and watching others feel it, too. "I love seeing students catch on. It's a magical moment when you see a person who gets it," he said. 
Chris still gets to enjoy watching youth flying high as a volunteer with the KC Flying Club. One of their projects is Young Eagles. It's a national project that exposes youth to flying - for free. They open the Lee's Summit air space and from April thru October 70-120 kids a week, ages 8-18 get to go up in a plane and just fly. He has been piloting them for 20 years and still gets a thrill from the experience, "It's been a pleasure seeing kids see flying for the first time."
The other flying club project he thoroughly enjoys is Angel Flights. He takes families or individual patients across the country to Mayo clinics, MD Anderson and Detroit. He meets people and becomes part of their lives when their medical and/or financial need leaves them no other options. And he is committed. Chris has flown with Gus and Cressida to and from MD Anderson for five years. The trips were every two weeks in the beginning and now that Gus's pancreatic cancer is in remission, he sees them only quarterly. Gus knows an Angel Flight may not be available, so he has a standing ticket at Southwest Airlines, just in case. He's even had to use it a time or two, and he sure is grateful when it's Chris who pilots his journey. 
Chris tells the story of another family - a young couple with two toddler boys who gave birth to an infant with a heart defect and a severely cleft palate. When he takes them to Detroit they never know if it will just be for a check up or if it might be an extended stay, so they are always prepared. 
Chris is just one of the volunteers who make Angel Flights successful. The planes are donated. The pilots are volunteers. The Ground Angels who transport families and patients to and from the airports are numerous. There are Medical Flights and Compassion Flights - just in case a person needs to leave a domestic situation quickly. After 9-11 there were Mercy Flights for first-responders who needed to help - even transporting dog booties to the canines who were on search & rescue.
There is a chairperson who coordinates flights and a passenger coordinator who actually get paid. Angel Flights are funded solely through donations and serve people in eight states: Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, both of the Dakotas, parts of Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin. Chris flies missions and he is also the Chief of the Safety Committee. 
Find out how you can "Give Hope Wings!" by calling 877-621-7177.
In Other News:
  • Superintendent Brian Biermann has joined the club
  • Doug and Collyn were educating him on exactly how his St. Joseph statue should be buried to sell his house in Pittsburg
  • Andy gave Tom a black eye AND bent his glasses
  • Tom is not bad luck for the Royals...he's simply a Streak Breaker...he breaks the winning AND losing streaks!
  • Andy is recovering from shoulder surgery very well while his boy Noah may face wrist surgery after a nasty break in football
  • Craig had a great time with his buddies at the Royals game on Tuesday night
  • McRaymond made two meetings in a row
  • We will distribute dictionaries at Broadmoor Elementary School on Friday, September 12 @ 2:30
  • We will run the Wildcat Concession Stand for the first home football game on Friday, September 12 @ 5:30