formerly "The View From Up Here"

Formerly titled "The View From Up Here" this column began in the Liberty Gazette June 26, 2007.

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

January 27, 2009 Humanitarian flying

The Liberty Gazette
January 27, 2009

The View From Up Here
By Mike Ely and Linda Street Ely

Awhile back we shared a family’s personal story of their appreciation for our community airport. The King family would not have been able to quickly transport their brother, Gayden, to his treating doctors and the specialized medical help he needed in Louisiana without the local airport.

Pastor Dan Drake says to use our passion on things that make an eternal difference; as a veteran of Christian missions, and grandmother of a child who has benefited from Angel Flights, I am particularly enthusiastic about humanitarian flying. So it’s exciting to me that this summer in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, site of the world’s largest fly-in, AirVenture, a week-long program called “Fly for Life” (July 27 – August 2) will spotlight those who serve through their flying.

EAA president Tom Poberezny said, “Aviation is used to meet basic human needs and bring hope in so many ways, including medical and dental missions to remote regions of the world, famine relief, and a wide range of other humanitarian projects.” More than 200 organizations will be represented to raise awareness and to honor public-benefit aviation activities and mission-based flight operations. AirVenture is sponsored by the Experimental Aviation Association and is held every year at Wittman Regional Airport. This year EAA is working with the Air Care Alliance (commonly known as “Angel Flights”) and International Association of Missionary Aviation to bring the many different groups of flying servants and support staff to the fly-in that draws over a million people a year. The organizations will have displays, as well as showcasing the different types of airplanes commonly used in mission flying. Forums, presentations, an evening program and other events will bring more attention to the highest value of aviation. (

Bob Warner, a former EAA vice president, is chairing this program. He said, "There is an incredible story to tell of the hundreds of airplanes and thousands of dedicated people, including many, many EAA members, who generously devote themselves to using their flying abilities to make our world a better place. This is a story that we want to share not only with the aviation community at AirVenture, but to the public that does not always understand the depth of aviation's contribution to our world."

Mike: There is goodness in the world, but the teen years are tough enough without the added challenges that come with losing a parent in the war. Enter retired Marine Corps Col. Jack Howell, who wanted to use his life experience to reach out to kids in need. Teens-In-Flight is the new program developed by Col. Howell to provide scholarships to the children of fallen soldiers, and so far the program is active in two Florida cities and will open soon in Colorado Springs, and Killeen, Texas. The scholarships are available to teenagers whose parents were killed or disabled in the Gulf War, Iraq, or Afghanistan, and also to disadvantaged children from non-military families. ( Its Col. Howell’s way of reaching out, using something he knows to help others.

Col. Howell generously donates his time, effort, and resources because of his conviction that many life lessons can be learned through aviation. It’s not just about flying, it’s about what you do with a gift God gave you.

Mike and Linda can be reached at

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