The Norman Transcript


December 14, 2012

Volunteer flights serve the seriously ill

NORMAN — “My passion is flying and my mission is Angel Flight,” said Randy Richison, Norman pilot and Angel Flight South Central Wing Leader.

Angel Flight is a nonprofit organization with volunteer pilots who provide free air transportation to children and adults who need medical treatment not available to them locally. The pilots pay all of the costs, from fuel to airport fees, out of their own pockets.

Richison has been a pilot with the Angel Flight program since September 2003 and during that time has transported 26 people.

“It’s a win-win. Pilots like to fly and patients need a ride,” Richison said. “To me, it’s meaningful. My mission, my purpose, is helping someone directly.”

The pilot likened the Angel Flight program to Meals on Wheels or helping the homeless. These all involve helping people directly he said.

“You get to know these people,” he said. “And it impacts so many people.”

There are about 55 volunteer pilots in Oklahoma and around 1,100 pilots in the Angel Flight South Central organization. In addition to Oklahoma, the South Central group serves Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Arkansas and Louisiana. During the past 12 months, AFSC has made about 2,000 charitable flights.

Richison said many people only learn about the program through word of mouth whenever they have a relative or loved one needing serious medical treatment. As South Central Wing Leader though, he tries to get the word out about the organization as much as possible.

As a leader, his job is to recruit more pilots and let people in the community and medical fields know about their services.

“There’s a lack of knowledge,” Richison said. “(Angel Flight) is like a hidden jewel.”

AFSC is based out of Dallas but to get Oklahoma patients there, Richison said they often fly to smaller towns and smaller airports to pick them up. Pilots have flown to Bartlesville, Ponca City, Chickasha, Ada, Shawnee and more.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Braddy_1. Norman North teen struck by freight train recovering with therapy

    A Norman North teen struck by a freight train in May is on the road to recovery and ready to get back to school after spending most of his summer in a hospital. Harrison Braddy, 16, has been staying busy with rehab and physical therapy ...

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Storm victims face loan dilemma

    The tornadoes, flooding and hail that struck Oklahoma last year left hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage, causing many home and business owners to seek help in the form of low-interest federal loans....

    July 27, 2014

  • Teen critical after rescue

    A 17-year-old Yukon male was transported to the hospital Sunday after a near drowning incident at Lake Thunderbird in the Party Cove area. Emergency crews responded to the lake after a report of a possible drowning around 5:30 p.m. ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Migrant kids go to Mass

    The services have all the elements of a typical Sunday Mass — singing, scripture, a sermon, prayers, communion and worship....

    July 27, 2014

  • Police identify woman found dead Monday

    Norman police have identified a woman found dead in her home at 2202 Donna Drive Monday afternoon. Police responded at 1:25 p.m. to the residence of Cassandra Thompson, 30, after receiving a report that she had not shown up for work ...

    July 29, 2014

  • Residents speak out about document regarding shelter photos

    Norman and metro-area residents showed up in overwhelming numbers, many in red shirts, for an Animal Shelter Oversight Board meeting Monday night demanding for their opinions to be heard....

    July 29, 2014

  • Cool snap brings heat relief to Oklahoma, Arkansas

    OKLAHOMA CITY — The dog days of summer are coming in with a whimper. Weather forecasters say a cold front headed for Oklahoma and Arkansas will bring unseasonably cool temperatures and a chance of rain through next week....

    July 29, 2014

  • Mixon’s attorney says athlete acted in self-defense

    The attorney for Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon says the incident that left a 20-year-old female OU student with multiple facial fractures was a case of self-defense. “This past Friday morning, Joe Mixon found himself in a situation ...

    July 29, 2014

  • Be ready for ‘prolonged’ Gaza war, prime minister says

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Signaling an escalation of Israel’s Gaza operation, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Israelis Monday to be ready for a “prolonged” war, and the military warned Palestinians in three large neighborhoods to ...

    July 29, 2014

  • FBI defends search for Oklahoma City bombing video

    SALT LAKE CITY — The FBI thoroughly searched its archives and found no evidence that more videos of the Oklahoma City bombing exist, agency employees told a judge Monday in a trial that has rekindled questions about whether any others were ...

    July 29, 2014