Date: April 7, 1983
Location: Jackson, WY
Newspaper: The Jackson Hole Guide
Part-time Jackson residents B.T. and Marie McManus have donated a $52,000 airplane to a charitable organization called “Wings of Hope.”
The new Maule, single-engine plane will be added to “Wings” fleet of planes that fly in medical assistance and food to unaccessible regions of South America, Africa and Asia.
The plane has been dubbed the “Spirit of Wyoming” and is adorned with two Big Wyoming decals, compliments of Governor Ed Herschler. “This plane will be helping out needy people in South AMerica for many years,” McManus said. “And everywhere it goes, people will see those Wyoming emblems.”
Wings of Hope was founded in 1964 by a group of St. Louis businessmen to relieve the needs of a tribe of famine-threatened nomads in a remote area of the Turkhana Desert in Kenya, East Africa.
The thought was to put a light plane into service, the businessmen would act as advisors. Long-distance pilot Max Conrad flew in the first “care packages”, and the operation was so successful that requests came in for similar assistance around the world.
The group expanded and incorporated. It is nonpolitical, nonsectarian, nonprofit and staffed by volunteers, mainly aviation professionals.
Wings makes no attempt to retain ownership of the planes. Once it is satisfied that service will be maintained, a plane is given to the group it serves. Over 30 planes have been distributed in the last 15 years.
The planes carry doctors, technicians and teachers to areas that lack communication. They also carry the sick and injured to hospitals and transport foods and medicines to areas struck by a natural catastrophe.
McManus has donated money to Wings of Hope for many years. He is the co-founder of the Bi-Rate drugstore chain in Wyoming, and will be honored this year by the Wyoming Pharmaceutical Association for 50 years of service.
Bi-Rate provided ambulance service in Wyoming before the state began its own air ambulance program.
CAPTION: Accepting the plane for ‘Wings of Hope’ is Mike Sullivan, left, of Boulder, Colorado. Sullivan just returned from two years of flying airplanes in New Guinea. Governor Ed Herschler, middle, provided two Big Wyoming decals for the plane’s tail. B.T. McManus, right, donated the craft to the charitable organization.