Stan Brock, the author, television personality, pilot, and founder of Remote Area Medical, the humanitarian organization renowned for flying general aviation aircraft to assist communities hit by natural disasters and other emergencies, died Aug. 29 in Knoxville, Tennessee. He was 82.
Brock “pioneered the use of mobile medical clinics to deliver health care services to people in remote, isolated, and underserved communities around the globe. During Brock’s 33-year tenure with RAM, more than 740,000 received free dental, vision, and medical services, all provided by more than 120,000 dedicated volunteers,” said an obituary of Brock posted on his organization’s website. It highlighted Brock’s inspirational saying: “Never forget the mission.”
A year after the Haiti earthquake disaster of January 2010, AOPA reported that Remote Area Medical was continuing to fly relief missions in aircraft ranging from single-engine airplanes to a C–47/DC–3 that served in World War II—and Brock, flying a Maule, was the first to land at a 1,500-foot strip hacked out of terrain to provide access to a remote village.
According to Rockford, Tennessee-based Remote Area Medical’s website, Brock was born in 1936 in Preston, Lancashire, England. In 1952 he relocated to British Guiana, now known as Guyana, and worked as a vaquero, or cowboy. Through 1968, he managed Dadanawa Ranch, a cattle operation in “a 4,000-square mile combination of rainforest and savannah,” where he also became a bush pilot and airline transport pilot, it said.
His inspiration to found a humanitarian organization began when, having survived an accident without medical attention while living with an indigenous community 26 days by foot from the nearest hospital, Brock “vowed that he would one day bring medical care closer to the people who needed it.”
He came to the United States in 1968 and began co-hosting NBC’s Emmy-winning Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, with Marlin Perkins. Brock also starred in several films.
He founded Remote Area Medical in 1985, “keeping his promise to the Wapishana Indians in Guyana,” his obituary on the Remote Area Medical website said.
The group credits Brock with being a factor in passing the Tennessee Volunteer Medical Services Act of 1995, allowing health professionals with out-of-state licenses to cross state lines and provide free care. In 2012 he was recognized as a CNN Hero, an honor bestowed on “everyday people changing the world.”
In 2017 he received the Lions International Humanitarian Award, an honor previously bestowed on individuals including President Jimmy Carter and Mother Teresa, it said.