On behalf of Luke’s Wings, I wish you and your loved ones health and happiness as we navigate these unpredictable and unpreceded times. Our hearts and prayers go out to those who have been impacted during this pandemic.
These past days and weeks have been some of the most trying of our recent memory, perhaps since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. The COVID-19 Pandemic is impacting individuals, families, and relationships in our communities, states, our great Nation, and the world at large.
As we reach the apex of this pandemic, our unified response has been inspirational. The way we have come together, on all levels, to meet this threat has been something to behold. It highlights our inherent ability to achieve greatness as individuals and as human beings. We wear masks to protect strangers around us. We say thank you to those working at our local grocery store. We social distance from others, even from our loved ones, to stop the spread. However, our efforts have come at a real and deep cost to us all.
Social distancing and the lack of human contact, especially with those we love, has drawn into sharp relief how incredibly important it is to be surrounded by loved ones, especially in times of crisis. At Luke’s Wings, our mission has always been to keep families together by providing complimentary airfare to wounded warriors and their loved ones during their recovery and rehabilitation. Since January of 2008, we’ve proudly and gratefully said “yes” to flight requests from all over the country and the world, providing 5,500 round trip flights, 11,000 one way flights total, to our wounded warrior families, our veterans in hospice care, our ill and injured service members, and our fallen officers.
As the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Luke’s Wings, I want to reassure all of our donors, beneficiaries and stakeholders that we are here to stay. While demand for our services has fallen due to quarantine measures and the uncertainty of travel, we are in touch with our beneficiaries every day managing current and future travel requests for important medical-related travel, comfort visits and whatever else comes their way. As an organization, we are making strategic moves so that we stand ready, willing, and able to begin flying families as soon as the planes are ready to roll.
Please let me also express my deep and real gratitude to all our donors, beneficiaries and staff who stand with us during this trying time. In response to re-scheduling our largest fundraiser of the year, the Heroes Gala, loyal donors like the SRS Raise the Roof Foundation have stepped up to confirm their support, not shy away from the uncertainty to come. This support will keep our organization steady through this difficult time.
I’d also like to extend my personal thanks to our small, but amazing staff for staying the course and finding creative silver linings during this crisis. Lindsay Gill, Dakota Bierly, Bea Ibarra and Emily Drewello are the most committed and steadfast people I’ve ever met. Luke’s Wings and our beneficiaries are lucky to have you!
While much remains uncertain during this pandemic, especially everyone’s ability to travel, many things do remain certain:
- This crisis will pass
- Luke’s Wings will remain focused and plan for the future
- We will continue booking travel for our beneficiaries so that they can re-focus on their recovery the first day this quarantine is lifted
In an effort to best prepare, and to make the most of this time during our own quarantine, we are completing the following projects:
- Applying for disaster relief from the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, allowing us to maintain all our staff during this time
- Reinventing and rebuilding the Luke’s Wings website to enhance the user experience for both our beneficiaries applying for travel and for our donors seeking information on the organization
- Renegotiating our office lease to include free rent, helping us mitigate current fundraising shortfalls during the economic crisis
- Continuing to carry out 2020 initiatives including the creation of a mid-year fundraising campaign and adding to our team, allowing us to make a more substantial and meaningful impact on our beneficiary families
This crisis will pass. The world will return to normal. We will find ourselves stronger and closer, as people and as a Nation. Luke’s Wings will return to reuniting our nation’s heroes with their families, each and every day. When this happens, we want all of you to be with us. For our supporters, we hope you will donate to our great cause and join us at our fundraising events. For our beneficiaries, we hope you will contact us every time you need the love and support of your family.
With respect, gratitude, and thanks,
Founder and CEO
Luke’s Wings Inc.