Aviation Nonprofit Supports Humanitarian Efforts around the Globe

A core group of humanitarian-minded pilots and flying nurse-nuns in 1959 inspired the impetus of Wings of Hope, an aviation-based nonprofit based in Chesterfield.

In 2017, WoH representatives worked in 10 countries to directly serve 45,858 people.

Carol Enright, WoH communications manager, says the group’s volunteer pilots transport U.S. individuals with serious illnesses and health conditions to life-changing treatment at medical facilities.

“Outside of the U.S., we fly people living in remote areas to the nearest hospital. In most cases, this is a 30- to 45-minute flight, versus hours by car over rough terrain. We also use airplanes to fly doctors into communities to provide medical clinics to treat injuries, illness, pregnant mothers and children,” she says.

The first WoH mission was in 1965.

“Our founders learned of a missionary nurse and nun, Sister Michael Therese Ryan, who was flying around the deserts of Kenya providing medical care and resources to the starving people there. The canvas wings of Sister Ryan’s plane had been chewed by hyenas and were falling apart. On May 25, 1965, Wings of Hope sent her a metal Cessna plane. Since then, we have worked in hundreds of communities and completed thousands of missions,” Carol says.

Until 2003, she says the group operated exclusively in developing countries.

At the international field sites, Carol says many people are not aware WoH is behind the assistance they are receiving.

“But our in-country partners share stories with us of how villagers know when the clinics are scheduled, and they flock to the runway to greet the plane and the doctors.”

#Gratitude: "We regularly receive thank-you cards, emails, calls and visits from people extremely grateful for our help in getting loved ones medical care not possible without WOH transportation."

18370 Wings of Hope Blvd., Chesterfield, Missouri, 800.448.9487, 636.537.1302, WingsOfHope.ngo