Hometown Hero: Montco nonprofit helps provide air transportation for medical patients

Last year, Angel Flight East organized 1,000 flights for patients. Louis Barson was responsible for about 50 of those.
BLUE BELL, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- A Montgomery County nonprofit is giving the gift of transportation to patients who need to travel for medical appointments.

But this is no normal ride. Private pilots are flying the patients to their destinations.

For someone who's spent more than 1,000 hours in the sky, what keeps volunteer pilot Louis Barson grounded are the people typically sitting in the passenger seat with Angel Flight East.

The organization is based out of Wings Field in Blue Bell.

"It's kind of cheating because I love to fly so I get to help people while I do my passion. So it's a win-win," said Barson.

"A lot of them have been told 'no' so many times. When they reach out to Angel Flight, it's like their first 'yes,' and it gives them hope that they can get to their treatment," said Jess Ames, the outreach and event director for the nonprofit.

Last year, Angel Flight East organized 1,000 flights for patients. Barson was responsible for about 50 of those.

For him, the time commitment to fly was made easier by the pandemic. He's owns Hymie's and Barson's Restaurant Group.

As someone who experienced difficulty in his industry during the pandemic with cut back hours and fewer customers, he says he chose to find a way to give back to those who needed him most.

To the patients he's been able to help, that time is a gift they're thankful to land.

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