Wings of Mercy, located in Zeeland, is a faith-based nonprofit pilot association that connects general aviation pilots with patients needing transportation to distant medical facilities. Most of the recipients come from West Michigan, but Wings of Mercy also serves residents in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. The organization flies to hospitals and treatment centers located east of the Rocky Mountains.
Wings of Mercy was founded by Peter Vandenbosch in 1991. Vandenbosch came out of his retirement and used his pilot skills and resources to help others. Thirty years later, Wings of Mercy pilots are still donating their time and resources to “give wings to those in need.”
Meet Grace Spelde, managing director
How did you get started with Wings of Mercy?
I have been with the organization for 11 years. I believe Jesus calls us to love and serve each other, and this is a great place to do that.
What impact does Wings of Mercy have on the local community?
West Michigan is home to world-class specialists and hospitals. And yet, not every hospital can treat every illness with the same level of success. Patients with complex conditions often need a team of doctors and treatments that are only available elsewhere. We want to make it possible for everyone to benefit from the next level of care and take travel expenses out of treatment choices.
Why this matters
Knowing that people care and will go the extra mile to help is sometimes the best medicine of all.
How you can help
Each year, we have an event at West Michigan Regional Airport. We need volunteers to help, runners to sign up for the 5K and people to come out and show their support. It is a great way for everyone to see the benefits of a vibrant regional airport and raise awareness for Wings of Mercy.