by Jennifer McGlothen
There are stories, and then there are STORIES. This is a story that had to be shared. One that shines a brilliant light on giving and receiving as the core of humanity. One that lifted my spirit high above life’s struggles, the annoying political rancor of our time, and the daily doses of sobering news we juggle, to a literal place where angels fly.
A seemingly chance encounter happened the evening of January 10th at the Better Business Bureau Annual Meeting. The scene was set for board members and attendees representing our accredited businesses and nonprofits to enjoy live music, have dinner and hear about the past year’s accomplishments. Just like any gathering of this sort, at every table sits a variety of people, who may or may not know each other, that end up engaging in conversation. One never knows who they might meet and how that connection might impact their life.
Mike Coppoc owns Call Mike, LLC a BBB accredited business providing home inspection services. He attended the BBB annual meeting with his son Zach, planning to do some networking. Mike is a single dad raising Zach, who is a high school junior. So his other purpose for attending was to have Zach sharpen his networking skills in preparation for his post high school future. He was in fatherhood and business owner mode that evening, not realizing what would be in store.
Brendan Sneegas is Director of Operations & Development at Angel Flight Central (AFC). I have worked with Brendan and AFC for several years helping make sure they continue to meet the accountability standards for accreditation as a charitable organization of the BBB. AFC does amazing work and Brendan is one of those people you can always count on. I have never known him to miss an annual meeting. And he usually brings his lovely wife Kristi, who played a strong supporting role in this story too (You have to watch the video to get that part https://youtu.be/kqzHkwcGGf8 )!
Mike and Brendan ended up at a table together and began to talk. Mike shared that he had suffered a debilitating back injury in 2005 and has been traveling between KC and Minneapolis because of not having local access for the treatment he needs. Nothing less than divine that these two gentlemen sat together. Little more than 30 days later, the angels at AFC, Brendan Sneegas and staff, arranged a flight for Mike.
The flying angel turned out to be another Mike. Mike Fishman owns a commercial real estate company in Overland Park, KS. He has been flying for 25 years and has been an ‘instrument rated’ pilot for the last 15-20 years. Mike joined AFC as a volunteer pilot in 2002 and says that the most interesting thing about these missions is getting to know the people he flies with. He responded to an email from Brendan and accepted the mission to fly both Mike and his son to Minneapolis for his treatment.
There is a lot that goes into coordinating these kinds of flights and Brendan says, “it’s amazing that this little place can duplicate it over 2,300 times a year! There are over 320 pilots like Mike in our 10 state region, 27 of them are in the Kansas City metro area. Last year, there were 694 flights coordinated to assist Kansas and Missouri residents.”
There are undoubtedly more Mike’s out there that may not know about Angel Flight Central. Whether you are a pilot with a plane, or someone that needs a pilot with a plane for medical or humanitarian reasons, or someone simply touched by this story, I hope it will be a catalyst for more giving and receiving through the services and support of Angel Flight Central. Angels have missions on earth to serve mankind, just so happens that some of them fly!