My Nonprofit Reviews
Review for Able Flight, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
As I enter the last year of my 30s, I can’t help but look back on the past decade, post injury, with wonderment and appreciation - even though the beginning of it was fraught with pain and confusion. That evening in Iraq, 21 December 2006, certainly created a new path for my life. A life that has shown me love, compassion, and hope for a better tomorrow; I may have even learned a thing or two since then.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a huge shout out to Able Flight for giving me one of the most memorable experiences of the last decade, if not of my life. Through peer advice from some other past participants I embarked on a program that would allow me to complete a seemingly unattainable dream of mine – the power of flight! Long story short, I was selected as a 2017 Able Flight participant hosted at Purdue University Aviation Technology. This allowed me to basically fly night and day, with a serious amount of book work for the better part of six weeks. I was able to interact with, dare I say it, “millennials.” This group of young instructors truly set the standard for professionalism, intellect, and discipline. My instructor, a strapping 21 year old highly qualified pilot, showed me the right way.
As of a few weeks ago, I completed all requirements, including solo pattern work, solo cross-country flying, along with oral exam and check ride. The training went very well, and I am officially a Light Sport Pilot, with new dreams of progressing to other certifications.
I was extremely impressed by Able Flight’s organization of this program. A lot of effort goes into the logistical process of securing “adapted” aircraft that fit our class’s disabled needs. Several pilots required fully equipped hand controls, etc. As well, a methodical approach was given to the academic portion of the program, which in many ways is more important than the flying component.
In short, I wholeheartedly indorse my support for Able Flight’s program. This small non-profit is having an enormous impact on, not only the participants, but also the instructors that have to change their normal teaching strategies up a bit to accommodate our needs. I myself am a bi-lateral below knee amputee and progressed through the program rapidly because of the effort put forth by my instructors, and the infrastructure that was provided by Able Flight.
Review for Veterans Airlift Command, Saint Louis Park, MN, USA
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