The flight routes we do are typically long and we spend time getting to know our pilots “through the headsets.” Some pilots are accumulating flight hours so they can fly bigger planes for more income. When I first flew with Erick Paradizo in 2014, he had a different goal in mind. Even though he was a Certified Flight Instructor and flying for a living, he was also going to aviation mechanic school for his Mechanic’s Certification. He said this was so he could fix his plane in case of trouble when he would be flying in remote mountains and jungles in South America. Wait…..what??? Mountains and jungles?
Yes, mountains, jungles…. and more. He was working towards being accepted into Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF), an organization that uses aviation and technology to help remote populations. It can mean vital transportation for medical reasons as well as daily needs and necessities. As Erick continued to fly with us, I learned more about his journey to America from Puerto Rico and his path to Christ. Through MAF, Erick was going to fulfill a dream to fly airplanes for a greater cause and a personal mission to spread the word and love of God and the Gospel.
Once Erick was accepted into MAF, there was even more training and fundraising to do. In the midst of all of these accomplishments, he met, married and now has twin boys with the perfect partner for this mission, his wife Joanna. Together they will be leaving for Idaho for up to 2 years then to Shell, Ecuador. I have been inspired by Erick’s story, the path he is taking and his dedication to his faith and family. My family is proud to support their work through fundraising and monthly donations.
Wendy Whittemore – Owner, Aerial Innovations Southeast, Inc.
*This is part of our How Will You Serve?, a company wide campaign. Each one of our fly-team members will have the opportunity to champion their personal causes. We will share these stories and organizations each month throughout the year.