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A Tribute

I joined Angel Flight in October 1999 not knowing the reward awaiting me. I fly “Sweetie” (N70746, a PA32-300 Cherokee Six) with her owner, Kathy Broussard, out of Baytown (HPY). Kathy had placed an ad in the paper for a commercial pilot stating the flying was voluntary but as PIC, he or she could log all the hours. Due to insurance requirements at that time, a commercially licensed pilot was necessary to fly “Sweetie” for these missions. Needing hours to meet Continental Express minimums, I heartily “applied” for the position and was “hired”.

My first mission with Kathy and “Sweetie” was to pick up a patient (along with her sister and niece) in San Angelo, shoot down to Kerrville to pick up another patient and her husband, and bring everyone back to Houston. As I smoothly lifted “Sweetie” into the pleasant morning sky of Houston, I thought to myself, “How hard can this be? You pick up people from point A and bring them to point B”. Meeting Eva in Kerrville changed my whole way of thinking forever.

Our patient in San Angelo had never been on a small plane and had flown commercially only once a couple of months prior to this flight. By the time we took off for Kerrville, I had already felt the warm glow in my heart for helping console and reassure her. But I was soon distracted with pilot duties and the task of finding Kerrville, where I had never flown into before. We found ERV with no problem and parked at the FBO. When we walked in, I witnessed a joyous reunion between Kathy and Eva, our ANGEL of the day. It had been several months since Kathy had flown Eva to Houston, and the reunion between them clearly demonstrated the relationship that had bonded these two together over time.

Standing there, I was still in my mind, just a pilot carrying “people”. What happened next changed that outlook forever. Eva presented Kathy and me with cookies and homemade tamales. I am not too proud to say that I had to excuse myself to the men’s room to “wash my hands” and dry my tears. Whether they were tears of sadness, joy, or thanksgiving I still can’t say. But at that point in time, the emotions were too much for my heart to take in. Here is a woman who has a life-threatening illness that I know does not feel well, but has taken the time to pour her heart and soul into a simple gesture of love for those who adoringly help her. Even now I reflect back on that cherished moment in life and find that same choking emotion rise again. It is a moment that I will remember for the rest of my life. It was at that exact moment that I discovered WHY I became an Angel Flight pilot. It now had nothing to do with meeting Continental Express’ flight-time minimums. I now carry “Angels”.

With great sadness, Kathy and I learned that Eva passed away in mid-August. I am glad I had the pleasure of meeting Eva and her husband Marcus and was able to assist them with their transportation needs on several occasions. She is undoubtedly with our Lord in heaven and my only consolation is that I know I will see her again someday. This is my tribute to you, Eva, for changing my perspective forever and being an ANGEL in my heart. Thank you!

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