September 7, 2017

Hurricane Harvey: My Calling Isn’t “Dentistry,” It’s Simply “Helping Others”

As you are aware, Hurricane Harvey has left a trail of devastation and the humanitarian needs are continuing to rise. With the need what it is, I’ve opted to temporarily trade my dental consulting tools for an aircraft control stick. For the next couple of weeks, I won’t be working much with dentists. Instead, I’ll be flying every day with Angel Flight, Aero Bridge, and Sky Hope, helping thousands of people by airlifting medicine, food, and other resources. I’ve taken this time to share with you my experience so far, aerial photos of the damage & destruction, and of course, how you can help support these efforts, too!

Saving Lives by Flying with Angel Flight, Aero Bridge & Sky Hope

Those of you who know us well, are aware that the Mosier family has always been charitable and mission-minded. We have led 28 out-of-country missions and supported several domestic needs as well. Our ministry varies from dental, evangelical and short-term hardship, to helping the impoverished learn how to be self-sufficient.

For years, we have partnered with charitable groups such as the Christian Dental Society, AirLifeLine, Angel Flight, Patient AirLift Services (PALS), Medical Group Missions, Christian Dental and Medical Society, Flying Dentists Association, PALS Sky Hope Disaster Relief Program and others; some of which are located in Central America.

Over the past few days, the flying has been non-stop. We are currently supplying the lifeline to Orange, TX, near Beaumont, which is surrounded by flooding. As well as other areas. The organizations I'm working with evaluate the needs and organize the airlift efforts, utilizing private aircraft to provide medical and humanitarian transportation. Predominantly, to stranded small communities without resources, medicine or even baby formula. We were involved in a similar effort following Hurricane Katrina.

Normally, what I do with Angel Flight for non-disaster missions is move patients who need medical care. But right now, my cargo looks a little different:

Hurricane Harvey: Airlift Load

Nonetheless, we have a very important job to do and our efforts will save lives.

Hurricane Harvey: Airlift Team

September 1st: Hurricane Harvey Airlift Support

Yesterday was a long day. My favorite daughter (and my only daughter) was by my side as my co-pilot, navigator, and chief flight engineer, keeping me focused. What a hard worker she was during the loading and unloading under time constraints.

Hurricane Harvey: Me & My Co-Pilot

The southeastern city of Orange, TX is basically an island right now. The only lifeline of food, medicine, and water is coming from a coordinated effort made up of trucking food to Georgetown, TX, and flying to and from the small runway that’s dry in Orange.

Truly, I haven’t heard so many Compassion flights in the air at one time since Katrina. Using the FAA designated call sign “compassion,” gives us priority handling and routing over all aircraft, except the air ambulances who are “lifeguard.”

When we flew into Orange, we were met by the Army of Camp Bullis from San Antonio. The army got there by Chinook helicopter. Then boats on trailers and huge trucks were loaded for disbursement.

The number of people making this coordinated effort on each end is staggering. Planes landing and taking off at Orange with no control tower, yet extreme organization and cooperation. It was impressive. The low flying helicopter traffic was numerous, so we flew high. In fact, we flew through the Temporary Flight Restricted (TFR) area many times. I must say, this was very busy airspace for the hour-plus flight each direction.

These photos do not do it justice as to the damage and wide area affected:

Hurricane Harvey Flooding

Hurricane Harvey Flooding

September 4th: Destruction of Rockport

Today, we were initially given a high-priority mission to get medicine, mainly tetanus vaccines, to Beaumont. The shelter there is out and has lots of injuries. We were then routed to take supplies to Aransas Pass. (Which reminded me of tornado destruction from my time in the midwest.)

Based on my cargo loads, I assume the medicine and baby formula is the most critical. But now I see the trend changing to disinfectants, and more medicine.

Also, targeted emergency flights based on urgent request are still taking place. Surprisingly, they're still evacuating. And then there is the chemical plant. This is the one area we do not fly over, but we sure smell it. Unfortunately, it smells like burning moldy, dead grass. Although they say it isn’t a health hazard for most.

Here are a few aerial photos of Rockport:

Hurricane Harvey Flooding

Hurricane Harvey Flooding

Hurricane Harvey Flooding

And some photos of the wind damage:

Hurricane Harvey: Rockport Wind Damage

Hurricane Harvey: Rockport Wind Damage

Hurricane Harvey: Rockport Wind Damage

The Sky Hope mission manager, Robin Eissler, stated that the state representative who is coordinating the efforts on the ground at Orange, Dade Phelan, said on a call made up of emergency leaders that the body bag count would have been higher had it not been for airlift from Georgetown.

So, I will continue to fly every day as long as the need is urgent and the isolation (such as in Orange) exists. Our efforts are needed here to save lives.

September 5th: Pilots and Paws

Today, I was wiped out from little sleep and very long hours. I rarely, and I mean very rarely, get headaches. Yet, I did, and this headache was so bad that I had to cancel flying today due to safety reasons. Instead, I used the time to prep the plane, flight plan, etc. Still, I hated not flying when the need exists as it does. Every other day besides today, I have missions lined up starting early in the morning into the evening.

The ability to work with Pilots and Paws (PNP) is a new thing in this mission. PNP is desperate to get the animals (cats too) out of the Houston area. Unfortunately, the shelters are overflowing. Since we’re flying back with empty planes, it makes sense to coordinate our efforts. Thankfully, Pilots and Paws has many volunteers. Even some cars are getting involved once out of the hurricane area. But travel is difficult and gasoline is hard to find for cars.

On Saturday, I will be leaving West Houston after dropping off a load. Usually, my plane is empty leaving a destination. But this time, I’ll be taking a passenger out of Houston.

My passenger will be Burton, an 8-year old, 12 pound, blind poodle.

My passenger, Burton, the 8-year old, blind poodle

The blind dogs are being gathered at Abilene for an airlift to a large foster home for blind dogs. That would be a sight to see (no pun intended).

How Can You Help Your Fellow Americans?

As a common family of Americans, it’s uplifting to see so many come together as one to help. Seeing the effect on individuals firsthand has been shocking, yet the support from people like you; heartwarming. During times like these, the choices to help are numerous.

The Mosiers would like to offer you a choice. A choice where you know that dollars are being stretched and creating accountable results.

Flying Cross Ministries is the fund which supports our efforts and has been primarily funded by our own hard-earned money. Historically, we have never asked for support. In fact, many of our missions we have done on our own. Doing our own focused mission often allows us to eliminate money-eating overhead and red tape, getting a greater result for the cost. But we have come to a point in our lives where our passion to give back has increased, as has our time, and it’s quite clear that finances will be our limit.

Thus, we are, for the first time ever, asking for your support and prayers.

In addition to Angel Flight and Patient Life Services (Sky Hope), some of our focus is also supporting private individuals who are helping rescue Hurricane Harvey storm refugees, gathering and transporting supplies to the storm zone, and making efforts in the cleanup and rebuilding.

If you can help, please do. It’s needed here in Texas.

All gifts are tax-deductible. Flying Cross Ministries is regulated by the National Christian Foundation, which is one of the world's largest non-profit Christian charities, a 501(C)(3) IRS tax exempt status.

You can make a donation with a check, credit card, or electronic check.

Give online. It's simple & secure:

Sending a check, instead?

Make checks payable to:
National Christian Foundation
ATTN: Contribution Services
11625 Rainwater Drive, Suite 500
Alpharetta, GA 30009

Please write in the memo: Flying Cross Ministries Fund #1519553

Blessings and thanks,

Mark and Darcie Mosier

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