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Volunteer pilot network to support SBC Disaster Relief

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–The North American Mission Board has signed a partnership agreement with Mercy Medical Airlift to assist in Southern Baptist Disaster Relief operations as needs arise.

Mercy Medical Airlift, a part of Angel Flight America, works with a network of 6,000 private pilots who volunteer their time and expenses to transport individuals needing medical care.

The new partnership is part of a Homeland Security Emergency Air Transportation System developed by Mercy Medical through a grant from the federal Transportation Security Administration.

The agreement will help Southern Baptist Disaster Relief coordinators place leadership on the scene of disasters more quickly, assist in damage assessment efforts and transport priority cargo. The system also will allow pilots to be operational in national emergencies when other air travel is impossible.

“We’re just tickled to death to be able to partner with you as brother and sisters in Christ to serve those around us,” said Ed Boyer, founder and president of Mercy Medical Airlift.

Jim Burton, director of volunteer mobilization for NAMB, noted that after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, NAMB Disaster Relief leaders were forced to spend 15 hours driving to New York because all conventional air transportation was grounded.

“What this means for us is we can get them there quicker … and they’ll be in better shape once they get there and have the ability to get materials in and out quicker,” Burton said. “That’s important in disasters. You want to be in the early stages of strategy development.”

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  • James Dotson