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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Luke's Wings, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Military & Veterans Organizations, Veterans

Mission: Since 2008, Luke’s Wings, a 501(c)3 military non-profit, has provided complimentary airfare to wounded, ill and injured service members and their loved ones; keeping them physically connected during recovery and rehabilitation. Many are unaware that the government provides just three flights at the inception of a service member’s injury; for immediate family to be bedside during the first few crucial moments. Once those three flights are exhausted, usually within the first weeks of recovery, families are on their own for continued transportation. This is where Luke’s Wings becomes a vital resource for emergency and long-term travel needs. While many wounded service members’ injuries can last upwards of three+ years at military medical centers, we are able to absorb some of the financial burden placed on families while helping to encourage the service member’s recovery through the emotional, physical and mental support brought by loved ones. Our team of just five full times employees pride ourselves on quick response time and flexibility, with staff on-call 24/7, ensuring families can be together for every surgery, emergency, holiday, celebration or time of need. In an effort to continuously meet the evolving needs of our heroes, we have established a lasting relationship with the SOCOM Care Coalition to serve their tight-knit community and have created the Veterans in Hospice Care Transportation Assistance Program for veterans, of any generation, saying their final goodbyes. More recently, in April 2017, Luke’s Wings expanded our mission to include medically-retired and discharged service members receiving on-going care as well as those battling illnesses that keep them far from their home and loved ones. While individual donations can be made directly through our website, www.lukeswings.org, Luke's Wings also encourages corporations to share in our thanks to our service men and women through corporate sponsorships.

Results: Luke's Wings was incorporated in January 2008. That first year, we provided just 19 flights to military families at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Over ten years later, our organization has grown to include five full time staff providing over 700 flights per year; reaching 4,000 total flights provided by mid-2018. As we prepare to celebrate 10 years serving wounded warriors and veterans, we continue to expand our reach in the military community through adapting our programs and developing new relationships with families, hospitals and donors alike.Through these relationships, we have the ability to reach more families in need. To commemorate a decade of service, our team has made a commitment to providing 1,000 flights to military families across the country in 2018. There are countless heartwarming stories of families helped by Luke’s Wings and while each one is different, they all have a common core; the impact loved ones have on the mental, emotional and physical state of our heroes. By supporting Luke’s Wings, you will provide a specific service that has an immeasurable impact. Join our community of supporters and help us #keepthemflying today!

Target demographics: Wounded, Ill and Injured Service Members and Veterans in Hospice Care

Direct beneficiaries per year: Over 700

Geographic areas served: National & International, when requested.

Programs: The Wounded Warrior Transportation Assistance Program (W.W.T.A.P.) - Luke’s Wings provides complimentary airfare to post 9/11 combat wounded warriors and their loved ones during recovery and rehabilitation. This program ensures that every wounded service member is supported by their loved ones as they recovery; regardless of geographical location. Additionally, this program provides airfare to service members receiving on-going treatments after retiring or discharge. Luke’s Wings has partnered with ten (10) military hospitals across the country, as well as the USO, Red Cross, and United Way. Veterans in Hospice Care Transportation Assistance Program (H.T.A.P.) - Luke’s Wings flies loved ones into Hospice Care facilities when a Veteran is ready to pass away. This service helps ensure that every Veteran is always surrounded by loving family and friends during their final days and hours. This allows them to say their goodbyes and allows them to reconcile their differences. It is a service we hold very dear to our hearts, as we know we are providing a final salute to the greatest generation that ever lived (our World War II veterans) and those who should have been treated better all along (our Vietnam Veterans). Special Operations Command Transportation Assistance Program (S.O.T.A.P.) - In 2012, Luke’s Wings created a separate program line to provide emergency flights for the families of our service members who are injured on special missions. Luke’s Wings is honored to be a resource for Special Operations Forces within the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) – Care Coalition.

Community Stories

84 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

My brother, Terry, means so much to our family. Years ago he came home from his time overseas serving in the army, and he was struggling in many areas of his life. We are thankful for how the VA hospital in Ann Arbor, MI helped him and then they let him start a VA council and a Vet to Vet program so he could help other vets. We were so proud of him.

In August we received a phone call that Terry had stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Soon Terry had to move into the VA hospice care, and then we were told that he many only have weeks to live. It was a sad time. Terry loved his family and we knew he would be encouraged if they could visit him. However, financially it didn't seem possible for our family to fly to be with Terry and our cars are old and unreliable to make the trip. Then someone gave me the phone # to Luke's Wings, and I called them right away. They were kind, compassionate, and very helpful to provide (through their donors) a way for our family to fly to be together with Terry in his final days. It was the greatest gift to our veteran brother and to us to be able to be with him. He felt so loved and he knew he was not alone. We got to be there to hold his hand, to laugh and cry with him, to share favorite memories, to read God's Word and pray and sing with him...even as he passed on into eternity to be with the Lord. Then we were there to help with his sweet daughter ... and with his touching memorial service held at the VA hospital auditorium. We thank God for Luke's Wings...for providing us flights to get our family together during the painful, yet precious time with our brother in VA hospice care. We highly recommend Luke's Wings, and we are truly humbled and blessed by their gracious help in our time of need.

Client Served

Rating: 5

They have helped our family so much! My family was with my sister throughout her treatment because of them. They are amazing! ❤️

Milena De La Hoz

Client Served

Rating: 5

My husband retired medically on 2012 and recently we found out that he is having more complications to his prosthesis and since my mother-in-law is scared of flying Luke's Wings donated airplane tickets for my husband to see his mom before the surgeries starts again. We are so greatful of you guys because it means so much to him and her to be together and she even blessed him the day we were leaving Miami. He had the oportunity to share quality time with his nieces and nephews; this trip meant the world to us, we never stressed in the fact of driving almost 18 hours one way just to get and stay 2 or 3 days. For all of these points we are indebted to you guys. Again thank you for this awesome time.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Luke’s Wings is a great org that was created out of a desire to serve. It makes me reflect on the role of elder in the Bible. In 1 Timothy 3, this is a true saying, “If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.” I learned of Luke’s Wings back in 2009. They were willing fly a wounded warrior home to continue care.
I later began a receipent during my rehab at Walter Reed. They support Luke’s Wings provides is swift and seamless for individual(s) in need.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

This is by far one of the best Charities that directly impacts Veterans and their families without a lot of red tape, and the very best staff at assessing their travel needs

Marie G.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Luke ‘s Wings is an amazing organization that done beyond and above for my family. Thank you

Client Served

Rating: 5

Luke's Wings provided a last minute flight for my son to come be with his dying dad. The staff was very efficient, helpful, and caring in their mission. They went above and beyond just providing a flight by offering comfort and friendship to our family in our darkest time. Their mission is so incredibly impactful on families such as ours. Luke's Wings is simply the best and deserves to be on the GreatNonprofits.org list.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

Luke's Wing is amazing! While my husband was dying they flew our son in to be with his dad before he passed. One of their staff members went out of her way to bring a strawberry Chick-fil-A shake when she heard that was his favorite. I can't say enough good things about this organization! You truly soar above all others! Thank you for all you do to help bring family members to those in need when it matters most.

Miguel A A.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Always willing to help. One of the most honest people i have meet.

uri1zen

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the privilege to volunteer at the 10 year Gala on April 7, 2018 and what a tremendous experience. I'll miss a few names but Darian, Samantha, Katie, and Dakota were so busy behind scenes, getting us, the volunteers, up and running with all of our roles in the event like check in and check out, being a runner and helping people at the auction.
A real benefit was getting to speak to some of the veterans and that was very rewarding. It was so powerful that it prompted to visit Arlington the next day. I can't say enough for what they do and how they help our veterans. I look forward to future volunteering event with Luke's Wings.

Debra S.2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

A truly amazing and selfless team that works to re-unite wounded soldiers with their loved ones. I have never seen a more dedicated team.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I'm a proud Marine dad. My son was severely injured at war in Afghanistan and was hospitalized for over 3 years recovering from his wounds. My wife lost her job. I was self employed with 6 children at home still in school depending on us and I did my best to hold down my household but money was stretched out. When my son was injured, I didn't know what to do. All the kids wanted to be with their brother but how?? How... lukes wings is how. We are a very close family and to have an organization like lukes wings to care to bring families together when their injured family member need them most is incredible. Thank you lukes wings you inspired my son to want to recover by bringing us with him.

Previous Stories
2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Hello my name is Carlos Lopez and I'm the father of an injured Marine who's hospitalized in Maryland recovering from multiple injuries endured while in combat in Afghanistan last April. Words cannot express the gratitude my whole family feels within our hearts having Luke's wings there to assist our family with flights so we can care for our loved ones needs. Without their outstanding assistance, flights would be impossible for us. I can't imagine my son progressing in his recovery as he has and is doing had he gone through all he has alone. Luke's wings providing my wife with flights to care for him and to come home and care for all of us has elevated us from one of many worries. And for that I will always be thankful. I've witnessed some go through this transition alone and it's very sad and different compared to the ones blessed with family members caring for them. The efforts Luke's wings puts into bringing families together is exceptually awesome! I'm grateful because I can only imagine by what I've witnessed that their job is not easy but by their faces I can tell its rewarding to them to do what they do. Thank you likes wings team!

Jessica M.2

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son, Sgt Joshua Lopez (ret), is the eldest of seven. He was a well behaved child, very athletic, and made good grades. As a promise to his best friend after high school he enlisted in the US Marine Corp. On 3rd deployment to Afghanistan he was severely injured and was hospitalized at Walter Reed in Maryland. I stayed to care for my son and therefore lost my job. My husband was / is self employed and our children were all still in school dependant on us. We lived pay check to pay check not able to afford flights to be by Joshua bed side and this is how we learnt of Lukes Wings. Joshua's moral for the 1st time was not so posiitve. So having family there seeing him through this tragic time of his life really played a positive role on his recovery. My son had over 40 surgeries. And although a hard decision, he chose to amputate his right lower leg. After each procedure Joshua struggled, he had difficult moments and needed us to boost his spirits. Keep him willing to fight to live. Without lukes wings I don't know how my son's outcome would have been but because of them, bringing us by his bed side time and time again, I know it made a world of difference and is why my son recovered well and is doing better in life. Lukes Wings works hard for our military. Thank you Lukes Wings! You are a blessing on our military families!! And we all love you guys so very much!!!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Jennifer Magerer was extremely helpful and polite, as she arranged my older brother to come visit me after not seeing me for quite some time due to my illness and service-connected disabilities whilst I was stationed at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Luke's Wings is perfect and simple when it comes to mission and how they accomplish the mission and from a veteran to see civilians do that is just awesome and mind blowing. Keep it up Jennifer and Luke's Wings and thank you for your service to your Country.

Lyn B.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son was injured in Afghanistan on December 13, 2011. He lost both legs and had extensive damage to both hands/arms. He also had a traumatic brain injury. He was in a Coma for a month, in intensive care for the better part of two months and in the hospital inpatient/on campus outpatient for two years eleven months and fifteen days. During that time Luke’s Wings provided my family with well over thirty flights. My son is the oldest of six children. As you can imagine we were all devastated. We had no idea how our family was going to financially sustain this blow. We were a paycheck to paycheck family. That was also something we really didn’t have time to worry about at that particular moment. All our thoughts were focused on getting Christian stabilized. We were worried every minute of every day. The family wanted to come visit but the military doesn’t cover that type of expense. I was with Christian but the rest of the family was back in Tennessee. It was exhausting to think about. Luke’s Wings stepped in and provided the first of many flights for my husband and Christian’s grandmother to come to see him in March of 2012. That was the beginning of a long and lasting relationship with Luke’s Wings. Not only did they provide flights but also participated in milestone events like the first steps on prosthetics and first public outings. Fast forward to October 2017, nearly 6 years later and we are still in touch with the staff of Luke’s Wings which I now call family. They provided us with so much during those six years but nothing as important as the friendship we share.

Sheila Herrick B.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Luke's Wings provided many flights for my family so we could support my brother, and Army Sargent, in his recovery from wounds he sustained in Afghanistan. I truly believe that us being able to be by his side during his recovery was not just physical support, but emotional support and it was vital to his recovery. I had the honor of accompanying my brother to the Luke's Wings Gala and it was an amazing experience!

Katie H.1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

It’s a great thing they do for wounded warriors and vets

Donor

Rating: 5

Stumbled upon Lukes Wing Gala fundraiser and thought why, not. Went to the fundraiser not expecting much since I have gone to so many, I was wrong. The passion, the involvement, the commitment was seen by everyone there. The stories and the impact was from the heart, not a publicity stunt, even if the nonprofit raised nothing, they made the people there involved in the passion for the mission to help others. I have been going to the Lukes Wings Gala ever since, not really for the items being donated, but to get me feeling alive again, that people are making a difference, against great challenges, Lukes Wings will move mountains to make you feel alive again!

Kristen Linde M.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The organization and all the people involved are incredible. They make it easy, in a time of stress to be able to have family either brought to you or the ability to go to them. My husband has been a patient at Walter Reed since May,dealing with surgery and complication due to combat related amputation. I hadn’t been able to see my 18 year old daughter in almost 6 months and she needed her Mom, as we are from AZ. Once we were vetted, the process was painless and within 24 hours had someone contact me to book a flight. This took the stress out of a moment of uncertainty with a quickness. Would recommend supporting this group over so many others. They truly make life easier for those dealing with unexpected stresses as well as expenses.

Lisa V.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I can’t even begin to describe how grateful I am for Luke’s Wings!! Over the past few years they flew our boys in to Walter Reed/Bethesda so we could be a normal family while my husband recovered there! Thanksgiving, Christmas and birthdays were not missed in the 2 years we were separated!! Always grateful for those precious moments spent with our sweet boys!!

Client Served

Rating: 5

This organizations is one of the greatest that I've ever had the pleasure of dealing with. My late husband, a Captain in the Army, was being treated for a very painful bone cancer at Walter Reed in Bethesda, MD. We knew that unfortunately, a cure was not to be... While we were there, our families were living in Florida. Financially it was difficult to have them with us as often as we needed them. Luke's Wings stepped in graciously so many times so that both of our families could be with us until the very end and they even flew us out to Hawaii so that my husband could attend one last St. Barb's ball where he received The Honorable Order of Saint Barbara. If it weren't for Luke's Wings, we would have had to battle so many things alone and he would not have gotten that last chance of seeing so many of his best friends and soldiers. This organization will forever be dear to mine and our families hearts.