Date: January 21, 1973
Location: Santa Fe, NM
By: Jack Handey
Newspaper: The Santa Fe New Mexican
“Wings of Hope.” Isn’t that the one with Cary Grant and Myrna Loy, where the blind pilot … no.
Or is it the one with Gary Cooper and Clara Bow, where the World War I ace … no, wrong again.
“Wings of Hope,” with its celluloid-sounding name, is a real-life adventure. “we’re a non-profit, aviation-oriented charity,” says 23-year-old Mike Stewart of Santa Fe.
Stewart will be flying to jungly, mountainy Guatemala next month to do volunteer work for Wings of Hope.
Wings’ mission in Guatemala – as it is in other remote areas of the globe – is to serve as a vital link to far-flung peoples, bring them the services of hospitals, educators, missionaries, and health and world aid groups.
“For the first time, I’ve found something through which I feel my skills can be of service to people who really need it,” the amicable Stewart said.
The Guatemalan Wings’ outpost, which is based in Santa Cruz de Quinche in the highlands, will mainly provide medical and educational aid for the Mayan Indians, who are 12 days travel from civilization.
Stewart, who is a medic as well as a pilot, said the umbilical services will at times be implemented through parachute drops.
“I feel a lot better doing this than flying a businessman,” said Stewart, who makes his living through the latter line of work.
Stewart will be organizing a Wings of Hope paramedic team in Guatemala. He also hopes to do the same in at the other Wings outposts, which are situated in Kenya, New Guinea, Brazil, and Peru.
There is much anti-American sentiment in Guatemala, Stewart says, which he hopes Wings can help change. One good point, he said, is that no strings are put on the services or donations, which is sometimes the case with other programs. “Everything is absolutely gratis.”
Stewart adds: “We’re not government supported. We’re an organization that really helps people who really need help – fast – with no red tape.”
In fact, Stewart will be getting no salary for his Wings service, which is divided up into six-month hitches. “We’re strictly a privately supported group,” he continues.
Wings of Hope, Inc., headquartered in St. Louis, pays for volunteers’ living expenses through contributions.
Persons wishing to contribute to Wings of Hope should write to: 2319 Hampton Ave., St. Louis, Mo., 63139, or call 314-647-5631.
Wings of Hope has reportedly been endorsed by George Haddaway, publisher of Flight Magazine and a member of the Wings board of directors; Bill Ottley, president of the National Pilots Association (202-737-0773 in Washington, D.C.); and John Schafer, retiring FAA administrator.
William Edwards is executive director of Wings. He can be reached at 314-647-5631.