Grace Comes in the Form of a Plane
By Niccole Caan
Grace On Wings of Indianapolis is an air ambulance charity founded by Hal Blank, a volunteer pilot. The organization charges for fuel, maintenance, and insurance, but all of the crew's time is donated. The typical cost to transport a patient by air is approximately $15,000, but Grace On Wings can perform the same job for about a third of the cost. The organization has flown some 40,000 miles to date and has given $30,000 in charitable aid to 40 patients. Grace on Wings gets about six to eight requests for help daily. Blank founded the organization three years ago in response to a growing number of people who could not be accommodated via existing air or ground ambulance transport. To use Grace on Wings, patients must be traveling to or from the Midwest, require medical monitoring during the trip, and travel 150 miles or more. The group currently has 25 volunteers and 14 pilots, and soon hopes to be accredited for critical care. "It gives us a great feeling of accomplishment as a crew to be able to bring families together," says Blank. Grace on Wings hopes to expand to other regions. It uses a Mitsubishi MU-2 plane dubbed "Nellie" after Nell Wood, whose donation helped finance the plane.
April 16, 2009