As an advisor, you know firsthand how long the workweek can be. Between meeting with clients, managing employees, doing investment research, and dealing with paperwork, it’s a time consuming profession. So when an advisor can find the time to fly a chemotherapy patient from a small town to a major city for treatment, it’s a big deal.
Phil Eggers, an LPL Financial-affiliated advisor since 1998 in Plano, Texas, has done just that. He recalls one of his most memorable missions: “Two days before Christmas my nine-year-old son and I flew from Dallas down to Houston and picked up a lady who had been in chemotherapy treatment for three weeks. We were flying her back to her home in Kansas, and my son sat in the back with her. They talked the entire way home. She’s in a medical gown, wearing a mask, and with no hair, and my son is talking to her like she’s a normal person on the street. We got out of the airplane in Kansas and she gave me a big hug and said ‘Your son is the most special little man I’ve ever met in my life.’ She couldn’t thank me enough. She made it home for Christmas and the first week of January she passed away. For me to know that my son and I were an important part of the last few days of her life is an emotional event for me.”
Angels in Flight
In October 2003, Eggers started flying missions for Angel Flight South Central (AFSC)–a charity based in Addison, Texas, that was started in 1991 to help patients from small towns get to metropolitan areas for medical treatment. He began flying one mission–each lasting about one-and-a-half to two hours–every month with his own aircraft and covering all expenses, as do all 1,400 pilots currently working with AFSC. “I tried to combine it with business when I could, then I started doing some projects for the Board of Directors,” he recalls. “I was asked to run for election to the Board and I got voted on. I was eventually nominated to be president of the board, accepted, and have been president for three years.”
The mission of AFSC is to fly ill people, many of them seriously ill, to places around the country where they can get specialized medical treatment not available to them locally. Volunteers pilot these terminally ill people, some of whom can’t financially or physically withstand commercial flights. “We have relationships with many clinics around the country that refer patients to us,” Eggers notes. The service is available to both individuals and healthcare organizations. AFSC also arranges transportation for those who are in a time-critical, non-emergency situation due to their medical condition. Eggers had flown about 40 missions, although due to board meetings, sponsored visitations, event planning, and other obligations to the board, he doesn’t get to make as many now. “I still try to fly a mission at least once a month, though,” he adds. “Seems like I’m doing something for the organization everyday.”
As for the future of AFSC, Eggers is working on getting together the yearly budget of about $700,000 for printing, employees, and grants. “One thing I’m working on is an air show in North Texas for the weekend of October 4-5 to raise money,” he mentions.
Eggers and the AFSC staff are also working to organize and spread the word about Grace Flight, the new name of the national organization that AFSC is growing under and expanding into all 50 states.
Staff Editor Kara P. Stapleton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.