Hurricanes Push Lifeline To Record


Lifeline Pilots set a record for flights in their efforts to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. The volunteer pilots’ group recorded a 65-percent increase in the number of missions booked and accomplished during the month. It was the most flights recorded in the group’s 24-year history. Lifeline normally flies people who don’t have enough money for commercial flights to specialized medical care available only outside of their hometowns. But in the case of Katrina, the policy manual was forgotten. While medical flights remained a priority, Lifeline pilots also carried out supply missions, delivering food, water and medical supplies to stricken areas. “Our volunteer pilots answered the call for their time and assistance again and again throughout September — efforts that resulted in huge financial contributions on their parts in terms of fuel and equipment costs,” said Lifeline Executive Director Keith Laken. The volunteer pilots donate their time, fuel and aircraft entirely. By law, they can’t be compensated. The organization is allowed to use public funds to pay staff and run its office.