Veterans Airlift Command
Rating: 4.97 stars 138 reviews
Issues: Human Services, Veterans
Location: 5775 Wayzata Blvd Ste 700 Saint Louis Park MN 55416 USA
The Veterans Airlift Command provides free air transportation to wounded warriors, veterans and their families for medical and other compassionate purposes through a national network of volunteer aircraft owners and pilots. Our priority is on the veterans of Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan). As capacity allows, our mission will expand to serve veterans of other conflicts.
Geographic areas served: National
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Our relationship began this past Summer when we contacted VAC to assist two injured friends that were in need of logistical support for medical care. Walt Fricke, VAC’s founder, did not hesitate to help this special couple reach their destination and ultimately find the medical answers they had been searching for throughout their recovery. In setting up that flight, Walt began some lighthearted badgering that I had never utilized VAC for my own travel needs despite meeting him nearly 7 years ago while I was recovering from bilateral feet amputations at Walter Reed. This past December, we finally used VAC for our holiday travel to Florida to visit family and it was the least stressful travel experience since my injury.
I promised Walt that I would call on their services when a good situation arose as I have had my struggles with conventional travel, much like anyone with a disability. TSA, large airports, small seat pitches, explaining my disability multiple times – the experience brings on anxiety and stress, but flying with VAC eliminated every one of these aspects of flying. With Laura’s intense semester ending and Christmas break nearing, we reached out to VAC and in less than 24 hours, our pilots were confirmed and arrangements completed. Our pilots were some of the most kind, generous, and caring individuals who donate their own time, resources, and talents to provide us an alternative to commercial air travel. They will be a special part of our lives going forward and we are so thankful to have met them and to have shared in their love of aviation.
All and all, we can’t say enough about this organization. They have aided countless friends and we are proud of the mission they have taken on to support our disabled veterans. Their staff truly cares and understands the needs of this disabled veteran community.
Ferris & Laura Butler
The VAC was the best experience I have ever had. They were there to help me get home for Christmas after my surgery, to be able to spend time with my wife and children. I have to say thank you to Andrew who coordinated the trip, Mr. Bill the pilot that flew me home and Mr. Howard who flew me back to continue therapy. I never thought that there were people who care as much as the volunteers who work with VAC. Thank you again and the words don't do justice to all the people with the VAC.
I doubt that you can find a nonprofit that meets the needs of vets more than Veterans Airlift command. I am a wounded vet and was wounded in Afghanistan in the summer of 2012. The VAC came along when all the means of getting home for thanksgiving were gone, they came and flew us home for the first thanksgiving of my new life as a double amputee. My daughters got a chance to fly to Disney world for the first time ever courtesy of Veterans Airlift command. They gave me a tremendous new take on life!
Veteran's Airlift Command rocks!! My good buddy had an idea for an all wounded EOD Tech team to participate in a 7 leg relay race, called Ski to Sea, in Bellingham, WA. He organized with VAC and was able to secure a plane to get 5 of the members from Washington D.C to Bellingham, WA. It was one of the coolest experiences I've ever had. The team, consisting of Jeff Hendricks, Mike Freeman and Dick Iverson, were outstanding. They flew across the US to come and get us, with the utmost hospitality and food on board, then flew us home!! I couldn't have asked for a better team. With out their dedication to helping others and the lengths they all go through to give back, I don't believe our race experience would have been any where near as memorable. Thanks again VAC!!
SSgt USMC (ret)
As a Caregiver, to a disabled vet, I thought I had experienced everything. That was until I called Veterans Air Command - what a blessing! They are organized, compassionate and generous.
All of the pilots are volunteers and donate their time and resources to help Veterans! I have never seen anything like it. I will be volunteering and donating to this organization in the future.
A true blessing to Vets in need.
Veteran's Airlift Command has been a huge blessing for us since my husband's injuries in Afghanistan.
It can be extremely difficult trying to travel with my husband, especially when he is wheelchair bound plus our two kids and all of our luggage and the crowds in the airports and the connecting flights.. It makes him miserably stressed and its hard on everyone around. My husband actually refused to travel for a while and then we found out about VAC. Veteran's Airlift made traveling manageable and really enjoyable. All the stress was gone. The pilots we have met have been absolutely amazing and we have even kept in touch with them. This organization is built with lots of love and compassion and we are so thankful to be a part of them. We have used them several times and everytime has been a wonderful, stress free experience. We are so thankful for this organization. Thank you VAC!!!
As a wounded warrior, VAC has always been there for me. They have always promptly answered my request for transportation to and from my treatment center or to visit my family when I could get away from the hospital. The pilots are always incredibly generous and the staff shows genuine concern for me. Of all of the non-profit organizations I have worked with during my 2.5 year stint in the hospital, VAC has made the greatest positive impact on my life. Thank you VAC for all you do!
My husband is a wounded warrior and we first handed have experienced the generosity of Veterans Airlift Command. Over the years we have had the opportunity to become acquainted with the members of this organization and to see their passion and love for what they do is truly inspiring. Their support to the wounded warrior community is one of the best gifts one can give to a soldier and their family. Thank you for all you do Veterans Airlift Command!
I lost my leg in 2004 after been shot with a rocket-propelled grenade. Ten years later, I needed two more months of intense physical therapy, 1200 miles away from my home. The actual therapy was covered, but we needed to pay for transportation, lodging, and food for two months. I rented a bedroom in a house, but plane tickets were so expensive, especially one-way. My wife escorted me down there in my car, but she needed to be home to work her own job and to care for our pets. VETERANS AIRLIFT COMMAND stepped up and quickly offered to fly my wife back and forth to accommodate us. The pilots and the aircraft were top notch. Courtesy and professionalism were standard for both of her flights. It is this simple... If we needed to pay the cost of her plane tickets, I would not have been financially able to travel and seize the opportunity for the physical therapy in that particular facility. VAC filled a gap that was a critical piece of a much bigger picture, so they saved the day. Honestly, it is not an exaggeration to say this: I am a better man because VAC accomplished their mission for me and my wife.
My name is Kristi. I am have been retired from the Army and not by choice. I was offered the opportunity to go to Oregon for the 2 week service dog handler training and at the end graduate with a service dog. I was so excited but I knew I could not fly and it would take about 14 hours to drive. I decided to do some research to see if I could find an organization who would be able to fly me and my mother/caregiver in a private plane. I found Veterans Airlift Command and sent in my request. Andrew Lourake, the Program Director contacted me for more information and towards the end of the conversation he said that they would be able to help us. He put out the request for any pilots able to work my trip into their schedule. It only took a couple of days and Andrew had me in touch with a pilot that had agreed to take the outbound flight to Oregon and his name was Alberto. Unfortunately he was not able to fly me so he had Lee and Terry fly me instead. They were so amazing and made my mom and me feel at ease. They carried our bags for us and the flight was very smooth. The plane was clean and spacious.
The pilot that accepted the inbound flight was Dale & his wife Terry. They were so kind and made us feel comfortable. This time my service dog, Pongo was with me. They were very sweet to him. Upon landing they took our bags and wited til our ride came.
What do you say to describe people like this? These are people that freely fave their time to help a veteran, someone they have never met, in need. I only wish that there were more people in this world that could see past their own bubble and notice for a split second that they are not the only one living around them. It sure would be a kinder place. Thank you so very much for being that little glimpse of relief during a time of roller coaster moments. Andrew Lourake is one of the most patient, kind, understanding, helpful gentleman I have come across in a very long time. I hope he can continue on the path he is and help as many veterans/military as possible so they too can have that calm for a moment during the storm. Thank you again, Sir.