Program saving lives through the sky

Wings of Mercy continues to help families struggling to balance medical bills and travel expenses.

In its 20 years, Wings of Mercy (West Michigan) has provided free flights to more than 3,000 people. Volunteer pilots, like Mark Evans, fly privately owned plans and help people travel to treatment facilities in other cities.

Its amazing, trips to Rochester, Minnesota by car are 14 hours, each way. Patients can barely tolerate a half hour in a car as it is. Our typical flight time there is about two hours each direction...we have pilots in Traverse City, Cheboygan, Harbor Springs, Gaylord and pretty much all the airports in the northern part of the state, Evans said.

Evans has made more than 135 flights as a Wings of Mercy pilot.

On September 8, Wings of Mercy is hosting their annual Pancakes with Pilots fundraiser at Cherry Capitol Aviation. The event runs from 7 a.m. " 11 a.m. All proceeds will be used to pay for airplane fuel.