Vinson Mortgage Charity of Choice: Wings of Hope

This month, we’re proud to support Wings of Hope as the Vinson Mortgage Charity of Choice. Wings of Hope is an humanitarian services organization based in St. Louis that provides air transport at no cost to patients with severe medical issues.

About Wings of Hope

Wings of Hope has a 53-year history starting in St. Louis. The story began with a missionary using an airplane to provide humanitarian services and the questionable state of the wings of the plane, whose fabric animals had a habit of eating. As a result, the plane was frequently out of service and unable to provide necessary aid. The missionary decided to approach a group of four businessmen for help. They supplied an airplane with metal wings and Wings of Hope was born.

Domestic Medical Transport

Wings of Hope operates domestically in St. Louis and parts of the Midwest through the Medical Relief and Air Transport (MAT) Program. This program is designed specifically to give patients and their families access to the best hospitals and specialists in the country, regardless of location. In other words, Wings of Hope flies patients to facilities they wouldn’t be able to access for treatment without a little help.

Baby Owen is one such patient. Owen lives in Tennessee and suffers from clubfeet,  a congenital abnormality that occurs when the tendons connecting muscle and bone do not grow to the length they need to be. As a result, feet are twisted or re-positioned, making walking extremely difficult. Wings of Hope interceded to make sure baby Owen was able to get treatment by the top specialists in St. Louis. In fact, at four months old, Owen has flown  round trip four times, with the MAT Program.

Charity of Choice Wings of Hope

Baby Owen and his parents returning to Tennessee after surgery.

Amerlyn is another MAT Program patient who has received excellent care thanks to Wings of Hope. She partakes in treatment for her prosthetic leg at St. Louis Shriner’s Hospital, and this year, was an honored guest at the 14th Annual Dinner Gala and Auction to support the organization. She continues to make tremendous progress through physical therapy and other treatments related to helping her manage her prosthesis.

Charity of Choice Wings of Hope

With prosthesis and physical therapy, Amerlyn has made excellent strides!

Air transportation is provided free of charge to patients, most of whom are children living with severe medical conditions and birth defects, who require repeated treatments. The MAT program is now over 10 years old and has flown hundreds of patients. Consequently, they are working to expand their service beyond the Midwest. With additional funding, Wings of Hope will be able to provide needy families all over the country with top-notch medical care. Vinson Mortgage is happy to support their efforts through our Charity of Choice initiative.

Global Medical Transportation

Internationally, Wings of Hope provides airborne logistics to very remote areas of the world. One angel, Elsa Klarich pilots an air medical clinic which makes frequent trips to the Maasai and Sanjo tribes in Tanzania every other week. These clinics provide vaccinations and general care to some of the world’s most vulnerable children. Amazingly, up to 500 babies receive vaccinations for each trip she makes. Elsa is determined to give the children in her charge a healthy start. And she is doing it!

Charity of Choice Wings of Hope

Elsa with some of the Wings of Hope kids in Tanzania

Charity of Choice Wings of Hope

The air medical clinic in Tanzania

In Belize, Wings of Hope supports a medical air transport service that has been operational for more than 25 years, and which is now run by the Belizean Ministry of Health. Wings of Hope still provides annual maintenance of their plane and assists in coordinating volunteer pilots because they care about the objective—treating patients. You can read more about the specific international initiatives of our Charity of Choice here.

At last count, Wings of Hope has flown 150 remote patients to hospitals for treatment, saving them an average of 12 hours of travel time on often bumpy roads…and usually clustered in buses without air conditioning.

We’re proud to support our Charity of Choice this month, an organization holding dear the mission to ensure excellent medical care is accessible globally.

With this in mind, are you interested in helping kids like Owen and Amerlyn obtain better medical treatment? Please review the ways you can get involved with Wings of Hope. Thank you for your consideration.