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Mission Central: August 2020

The monthly newsletter for friends of Angel Flight South Central

North Texas Giving Day North Texas Giving Day is only a few weeks away! In 2019, you helped us raise a record-breaking $64,000. Those funds provided nearly 400 FREE FLIGHTS to people in need of life-saving treatment during the last year. And, for a third year in a row, Lone Star Communications will match your donation up to $25,000. We are very grateful for the generosity and support from our amazing sponsor. We hope you will take advantage of this rare opportunity to double your donation! NOW - September 17th, 2020 NEW THIS YEAR: Raise funds and share your story about Angel Flight through a FUNdraising page of your own! Thank you to our pilots for donating flights, our donors for financially supporting our mission, and our passengers for believing in us.


In March, many nonprofit organizations were faced with new challenges brought on by the pandemic. The Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center (GCRBC) was no exception. The organization had recently entered into a service contract with a client in Corpus Christi, TX that required them to ship blood samples to Houston on a nightly basis.

When blood is donated in Corpus Christi, samples are taken from each donation and shipped to Houston for testing. GCRBC performs the infectious disease testing on those samples, which is required by the FDA before they can distribute the blood. The samples are tested every night, seven days a week, and if the blood is good, then it can be released the following day for transfusions.

As a result of the reduction in commercial airlines flights due to COVID-19, GCRBC began having problems transporting the blood samples to the lab each night. Around that time, Angel Flight South Central (AFSC) and GCRBC started having exploratory meetings to see if there was an opportunity for the two organizations to work together. AFSC was then introduced to Steve Ruth.

Steve has been working at GCRBC since 1997. "I initially pursued employment at the blood center because at the time I was feeling pretty confident about my phlebotomy skills." Let's just say that if people needed blood drawn, they went to Steve.

Over the years, Steve eventually landed a position on the operations side that distributes and manages all the blood inventory for the hospitals. The logistics side of the business suited him well. "My father was a military pilot in the Navy," Steve explains, "so the logistical aspect of this job is definitely a sweet spot for me. I really appreciate the mentality of a pilot. Everything has got to be pretty shipshape and timeliness is an important thing."

In late April, Angel Flight flew its first mission with GCRBC. Over the last several months, volunteer pilots have been transporting samples from Corpus Christi to Houston three days a week. Without the support of AFSC's pilots, GCRBC would have a backlog of blood in their inventory that would be inaccessible to patients who need it.

"I often have a conversation with the pilots. I like to learn a little bit about them and tell them what it is that they're transporting so they'll understand the magnitude of the mission that they're on." The missions flown by AFSC's volunteer pilots are the first step in allowing the blood to be used to save someone's life.

"It's been a great partnership." Steve enthusiastically describes the arrangement, "It's just been consistently run like clockwork. Lots of different pilots with the same result; every time the box gets delivered without incident. I can't thank you enough for entering into this partnership with us. It's really helped us keep this very critical piece of the puzzle in place and on time every night."

For Angel Flight, the new partnership has provided volunteer pilots with an opportunity to fly missions and continue helping people during the pandemic. Through the remarkable generosity of our pilots and the logistical expertise of Steve Ruth and GCRBC, we're able to create new solutions that benefit more people than we'll ever know.

On the Beam


Top Pilots for July

8 Missions - Robert Wilbers

7 Missions - Del Christensen, Larry Forney

5 Missions - Fred Greene, Joel Mack 4 Missions - David Prentice, Eugene Fraser

1st Mission Flown in July

Dean Shults Eugene Fraser Jason Fixsen Jesse Winters Kevin Lawson Robert Anderson

Milestones for July

5th Mission - Bradley Dunaginl

10th Mission - Eric Haskel, Bryan Brannon

25th Mission - West Griffin

150th Mission - Joan Waddil


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