Date: April 29, 1972
Location: Alton, IL
Newspaper: Alton Evening Telegraph
WASHINGTON – Medical supplies, volunteer workers and soccer teams have been flown to remote areas of the world by aircraft operated by Wings of Hope, Inc., according to its chairman, George Haddaway.
Wings of Hope, a St. Louis-based non-profit, non-sectarian corporation, provides free transport by small, U.S.-made aircraft in remote areas of Africa, South America and Mexico. In its nearly 10 years of operation, it’s grown to the size that the government should know about it, Haddaway said.
Officials of the corporation were here briefing the Federal Aviation Administration and State Department on the operation.
“We’re not here to sell anything,” Haddaway told the government officials who came to listen to his presentation. “Foreigners often think we’re an arm of the U.S. government, and government agencies can help us dispel that misconception, he said.
“And where there are disasters and our aircraft can help by flying volunteers and supplies to the area, the government agencies can let us know, if they know about us.
Wings of Hope staff members – from directors to pilots – are volunteers, W.D. Edwards, executive director, said. He added that many of the operation’s pilots are trained at the Aviation Technician Division of Southern Illinois University.
“They have an outstanding program at Carbondale,” Edwards said. Anthony DaRosa, chairman of the SIU department, is a technical director of Wings of Hope.
Wings of Hope multiplies the services of volunteer workers, Haddaway said. “More workers are willing to go into these remote areas, when they know we’re nearby if they need us,” he said.
“For example, we fly to one village in Peru on the Amazon River. It takes 21 steaming days and nights to get there by conventional riverboat. We can make the trip in one hour by aircraft.”
He added that Wings of Hope promotes an “unusual unity” among differant volunteer groups in the areas served. Because the operation is non-sectarian, it will service any group that needs help, he said. “We bring people and situations together,” Haddaway said. “This fosters an exchange of ideas which serves to promote a total effort in the regions we serve.”
“Aviation is holy and sacred,” said the Rev. [Guy] Gervais of Montreal, Canada, a Wings of Hope pilot in New Guinea, “Aviation will help bring peace to the world.”
“The people we serve think Americans really love people who live far away in the jungle, because when they’re in trouble, we come to help them,” Rev. Gervais said. “This is power.”
He added that Wings of Hope aircraft have been useful in helping American industries look for oil in remote regions.
“We’re not trying to promote a huge fleet, but to perform a service,” Haddaway said. “We’re training the host country people to do the job. “we’re training them to be self-sufficient.”