Why we do it

For patients who can’t afford to fly, Wings of Mercy is a unique, nonprofit organization providing free air transportation to distant medical centers. As a faith-based organization, we seek to honor God by serving and sustaining life for those in need.

Serious or rare illnesses are not always treatable at local or even regional medical centers. Sometimes the best or only treatment can be hundreds of miles away. And, even when a patient’s health insurance will cover treatment, it rarely covers transportation to those services. That’s where we come in, connecting people who can’t afford the financial burden of commercial flights with volunteer pilots who can get them there.

For every dollar donated, we deliver three dollars of service

How we do it

With accountability and stewardship, we ensure that 80 percent of all donations go directly toward sustaining the cost of our flights, most of which are fuel expenses. All our pilots are volunteers, generously lending their time and oftentimes their planes to our cause. With minimal staff and low overhead, we coordinate flights to meet appointments, pay for aviation fuel/expenses and raise funds to continue our operations. We are entirely funded by charitable contributions.

Where we come from

Wings of Mercy was founded by a Michigan native and pilot, Peter VandenBosch. At age 68, Peter had successfully retired and was enjoying a fishing trip off the coast of Florida when he heard a voice simply say, “Peter, there is more to life than this.”

For two weeks, Peter told no one before finally sharing his experience with his wife. When she heard, her immediate response was, “We’ve got to sell the house in Florida and move back to Michigan.” In faith, they moved back and waited, and within a few months a friend suggested that Peter use his twin engine plane to fly low income patients to receive treatment.

Peter founded Wings of Mercy in 1991, and since then, we’ve flown over 8,000 missions. We’ve grown from just a handful of volunteers to a registered, organized nonprofit, and we’ve seen the formation of two additional chapters in Minnesota and East Michigan. We can fly anywhere in the US east of the Rocky Mountains, and we look forward to growing our network and services for years to come.