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Book tells tales of soaring compassion
By Kathryn Barrett   - 02/18/2008

WVEC-TV

VIRGINIA BEACH -- The stories of Angel Flight’s compassion and aviation have gone widely untold in years past, but a new book is opening one organization’s story to the world.

Angel Flight Mid-Atlantic, headquartered in Virginia Beach, began as a combination of a passion for flying and a passion to help others, especially those facing huge medical bills.

Now, their more than 1,500 volunteer pilots take to the skies about 2,000 times a year, flying patients from the Mid-Atlantic to critical medical appointments for no cost.

Suzanne Rhodes chose Angel Flight as the subject for her book, “Because it’s such an important niche in aviation, medical and philanthropic history.”

Angel Flight traces its roots to 1972. It moves its headquarters to Virginia Beach in 1999.

Angel Flight Virginia Chairman Richard Love flew Angel Flights for several years, and believes he understands why the volunteer crew flies.

“They’re able to use a tool to enable them to help other people, and I truly believe that is the reason that most of our pilots fly.

Love’s last name describes how he feels about the patients he has flown, especially those on Tangier Island.

“The people I flew regularly knew me by my first name, and I, again, I felt like part of the family over there,” he said.

“Helping patients is the heart of the book,” said author Rhodes, whose research took her from the national archives, to pilots’ living rooms, to patients’ photo albums.

“That’s the other part of the heart of the book. Certainly, the pilots, they are our heroes.”

Rhodes’ book, Angel Flight Mid-Atlantic is part of the Images of Aviation Series, and is in bookstores now.





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