Marine Veteran David served 11 years in the military and during his last years in service he was helping countries like Laos and Vietnam clear land mines that had been left behind during the Vietnam war. Working with local organizations, David was disarming a bomb and it accidentally exploded. He suffered significant injuries including loss of his left eye and left hand.
While his physical recovery was difficult enough, he soon realized his mental recovery from the accident was proving even more difficult and threatened his overall outlook on life.
He was early in his recovery and trying to figure out what his life was going to look like going forward. While at a VA hospital, David learned about an upcoming trip to Fenway for a ball game. While not immediately enthusiastic about going, he decided to go. That decision turned out to have a major impact on his recovery and outlook on life.
PALS began its mission to provide free medical, compassion and veteran flights back in 2010. It was the dream of our founders, who as pilots felt their skills and resources could help people with free air transportation for medical treatments.
That initial inspiration and the first PALS flight has now grown to over 23,000 flights for over 2,300 families and an astounding 5.4 million miles flown. Quite an accomplishment for a free air travel organization a little over 10 years old.
Over the years and over many missions, we’re honored and humbled to hear how many lives we’ve been able to impact. Often times when a person is diagnosed with a life-changing illness, the care they need is inaccessible by car due to the repeat trips and length of each trip. When these families and individuals reach out to PALS, our team of volunteer pilots, flight coordinators and mission assistants go to work to make free travel to a medical facility or hospital possible. The stories we hear and our patients send us are all the reward we need.