Headquarters Rising For ‘Wings of Hope’

Date: December 26, 1985
Location: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
By: Yvonne Samuel
Newspaper: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Page: 3N

To say that Wings Of Hope Inc. is soaring over plans to construct its new international headquarters at Spirit of St. Louis Airport in Chesterfield is to put It mildly.

“We are jubilant – it’s a dream come true,” said Bill Edwards, executive vice president and one of the founders of Wings of Hope, an organization that flies mercy missions throughout the world.

Officials of the charitable organization, which is based in St. Louis, participated in a groundbreaking ceremony earlier this month at the Spirit of St. Louis Airport to make way for construction of a S300,000 hangar. The 9,600-square-foot hangar will include offices, shops, meeting rooms and storage areas.

The hangar is expected to be completed sometime this winter.

Meanwhile, the group is leasing a 1.4-acre hangar site at the airport for S5,000 a year.

“We have never owned our own hangar,” Edwards said. “We have always been a tenant. It was like living out of a trunk of a car.”

Before moving to Spirit, Wings of Hope rented space at St. Louis Downtown Parks Airport in Cahokia, Ill.

Wings of Hope was founded in 1962 and incorporated in 1967. It provides air transportation and radio communication to remote outposts, settlements that takes days to reach by foot or boat, where an airplane can make the difference between life and death.

“We transport thousands of people from one place to another,” Edwards said. “We also transport medicine, food and educational materials.”

The operation has helped to provide 70 aircraft in North America, South and Central America, Africa and Australia. The charity serves as a aviation consultant and wholesale purchasing agent for any established humanitarian organization that seeks the service.

“Most of out maintenance work is done by volunteers from General Dynamics, graduates and students of Parks College in Cohok1a, McDonnell Douglas and members of the aviation community,” Edwards said.

All its services are free. The group operates on an annual budget of $1.25 million and is financed entirely by private contributions.

If a humanitarian group wants to buy a plane, hire a pilot, overhaul an engine, construct a jungle refueling
base or find affordable insurance, Wings of Hope will help.

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