This double mission really caught my attention when I read that the passenger needed to travel for prostate cancer treatment. As many of you all may know, back in 2019 I was dealing with the same issue, and although I had surgery versus treatment, I know firsthand how much talking with someone else that has gone through this journey can prove to be so reassuring. So even though I had never met Kevin, I knew that I wanted to do one of his flights to and from (he has treatments 5 days a week for several weeks in a row) and set the stage for us to talk about what he is going through, if he was open to the idea.
I departed homebase at 12:00 noon on Tuesday, July 12th, and flew south to Rocky Mount, North Carolina where I would be meeting Kevin. I arrived early and while waiting I enjoyed the hospitality of the very nice FBO, and some of their fantastic, southernly sweet, iced tea! Soon, Kevin arrived, and we both introduced ourselves. Kevin and I are only three years apart in age, and from the start it seemed we had a lot in common. After some enjoyable conversation, we loaded up in 49Bravo and headed to Newport News, VA. Once there, Kevin would be going to the Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute for his treatment.
Our flight conditions to Newport News were very good, with an occasional need to poke a few holes in some clouds. We got vectored around for a visual approach for runway 20, and soon we were on the ground and in Ricks Aviation FBO getting ready to arrange Kevins ride to his treatment. Normally Kevin would use Uber, but for some unknown reason, arranging the ride on the app had been giving him a problem. The very nice lady behind the counter (Penny) saw what was happening and offered Kevin one of the crew cars for him to use, and on top of that, she told him from now on that he could use it for each of his visits, and, that if for any reason it was not available, he could use her personal vehicle! Wow, what an act of kindness! This really was much appreciated by Kevin, and it really relieved a lot of stress he was dealing with trying to arrange his ride and getting there and back on time! It is such a wonderful feeling getting to meet someone like Penny, it really gives you a reassuring feeling that there is still a lot of good in this world!
I waited for Kevin to have his treatment and return to the FBO, once back we had our picture taken with Penny and thanked her so much once again for allowing Kevin to use the crew car. We departed Newport News around 6:00pm and arrived back to Rocky Mount around 7:05. The FBO normally closes at 7:00pm, but they knew we were on our way back and waited for us! The flight conditions back were, again, very good. I knew my day would make me close to dark getting back to homebase, Luray, and that was fine, except for the weather. The weather where we had been flying in had been fine, but back home there was a front moving through causing some very severe storm activity (I had been keeping an eye on it all afternoon), that along with the fact of arriving back home around dark made me decide to kick in an option that I always keep available, and that is to spend the night and fly back the next morning. I had already found a very nice, reasonably priced hotel near the airport, and the folks at the airport so graciously allowed me to use their crew car overnight!
I think things worked out this way for a reason. After checking into my hotel, Kevin and I had dinner together at Cracker Barrel which was located right next door. We stayed there talking until about 10:20 (they close at 10:00) and then we continued talking until close to 1:00am in the morning. Kevin was so glad being able to talk with someone that could relate to what he was going through, and the feeling to me was very much mutual, it seemed like we had known each other much longer than just the time we had spent together that day flying! I hope to work in another flight with Kevin before his treatments are completed.
I arrived back at the airport at 7:00am the next morning and prepared for my flight back home. I had my tanks topped off with fuel and they gave me a very nice discount for being an Angel Flight that made the price about a dollar less per gallon than back home! That along with waiting for us to arrive after closing the day before, and for giving me a crew car for overnight, I cannot say enough good things about their service! I will have to say, that good service like this is what Captain John and I encountered most all the time with our flying adventures, it really makes your heart feel good!
I departed Rocky Mount at 8:00am and arrived back at homebase at 9:30 safe and sound. The ride was like sitting in the most comfortable easy chair you could imagine while watching the earth move by while flying over it at around 150mph!
Thanks for your time, I hope you enjoy the following photos, I think Captain John would have approved of this double mission with a smile on his face!