September 9, 2005
It’s a donation many can’t give. One Augusta pilot is using his plane and his time to fly donations to Hurricane Katrina victims and take evacuees to meet their families. Only on 12, News 12 boards an Angel Flight with Dan Troutman and finds out why these trips are worth the time and every dime.
Helping people really starts Dan Troutman’s engine. A pilot for 18 years, he’s volunteered to fly Angel Flights for the last seven.
“Well, the majority of Angel Flights are for giving medical attention that either can’t travel by car, or don’t have the finances to travel by commercial aircraft,” Troutman said.
But lately, Dan’s been in the sky giving attention to another cause.
Of the 17,000 Angel Flights in a year, Dan pilots at least six of them. While this particular flight is to carry donations to hurricane victims, this is not his first flight since the hurricane relief effort.
Just last weekend, Dan helped fly seven evacuees from Baton Rouge to Florida. While he unloads diapers and water in Fairhope, Alabama, we find Leola Banks, a New Orleans evacuee fresh off an Angel Flight.
“Oh it was lovely, I’ve never experienced such a beautiful ride like that, I’ve flown on a large aircraft, but this was just amazing,” Banks said.
An uplifting attitude for a woman with only her two bags by her side, and a reminder of the devastation she left sitting on the table in front of her.
“I don’t know, I’ve never heard of anything of this nature, evacuating a whole city. It’ll be a ghost town,” Banks said.
And it’s just that for people who once lived on Dauphin Island next to Fairhope. Some can’t get to their homes, and some don’t have a home to get to anyway. It’s a situation that gives Dan Troutman time to reflect.
“I don’t think you can put a value on a life, so anything we can do to help them, I think is very important and worthwhile,” Troutman said.
Proof that angels really do have wings.
You can help Angel Flights happen. Pilots need your help donating items for them to take to the Gulf Coast, or you can make a monetary donation by visiting angelflightse.org.
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