What is “home” to you? Is it a place – coordinates on a map – or is it a person, a thought, a feeling? Imagine you were injured serving our country and needed specialized medical treatment far from “home.” What would it mean to you then?

The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) has partnered with my consulting firm, McFarren Aviation Consulting, to raise funds for the Veterans Airlift Command (VAC) at the upcoming NATA Air Charter Summit, to be held June 6-8 at the Westfields Marriott in Virginia. VAC is a charitable organization that provides free air transportation to wounded warriors, veterans, and their families for medical and other compassionate purposes. NATA and VAC have established a special fund, NATA Wings for Warriors, for NATA members and friends to contribute to the organization.

Too many young men and women are returning from Iraq, Afghanistan, and other war-torn regions injured and in need of medical care. For many of our wounded warriors, that means lengthy or recurring medical treatments far from home and the love of their family and friends. No person should have to endure such medical treatments away from their loved ones, but men and women who have served our country especially deserve our compassion and care. Can you imagine undergoing treatment at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC, and being physically unable to withstand the trials of a commercial airline flight to go home to see your mother, spouse, or children? This is the everyday reality for many wounded soldiers.

I support VAC first and foremost because I believe in its mission – providing transportation to wounded warriors. But I also support VAC because it is a very fiscally lean organization. It relies almost entirely on a list of loyal volunteer pilots and gracious aircraft owners. The organization’s goal is to turn each dollar donated to VAC into at least ten dollars of air transportation. This means your monetary donation goes to support VAC’s mission and isn’t lost in some questionable “administrative” budget category. Donations of aircraft hours are even more critical, as they provide direct benefit to injured soldiers. No matter how you choose to contribute to VAC, you will know that the VAC leadership is a respectful and considerate steward of VAC resources.

Will you help VAC transport wounded warriors home or bring “home” to them?

Here’s how you can support VAC and its important mission:

  • Make a personal or corporate contribution to the NATA Wings for Warriors fund by visiting http://www.veteransairlift.org/m/donate.aspx?campaign=NATAWFW2011   
  • Share the VAC mission with fractional share owners and card program members. Ask them to donate unused flight hours to the VAC.  
  • Give a corporate gift of flight hours to the VAC.  
  • Stop by the VAC display at the Air Charter Summit to learn more about the organization.
  • Help raise awareness of the VAC with your aircraft owner and pilot friends and colleagues.
  • Challenge your employees or co-workers to raise funds for VAC. Make a corporate donation to match your employees’ donations.

Visit www.nata.aero/acs for more details on NATA’s Air Charter Summit.

Click here to read the NATA/MAC press release.

Submitted by Guest Blogger: Lindsey C. McFarren, McFarren Aviation Consulting

Visit or return to NATA site: www.nata.aero

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