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Local Heroes


Giving Flight

The sky is the limit when a former executive offers new directions to at-risk children.

As CEO of the free online mapping service MapQuest, the main focus in Mike Mulligan’s life was making as much money as he possibly could. In the month of his 50th birthday, Mike retired and was looking forward to enjoying the fruits of his labor. But it was in that same month that this Internet map mogul was diagnosed with prostate cancer. The prognosis stopped him in his tracks and the direction of his life took another turn. “That was kind of a wakeup call,” Mike says. “You’re not going to live forever…you ought to do something more interesting with your life than just trying to make money for yourself.”
In addition to being a high-powered businessman, Mike was also a licensed helicopter pilot. Determined to do something worthwhile with his money and skill, he began offering free chopper rides to at-risk children who otherwise would not have the opportunity to experience flight. Now cancer free, Mike gauges success by very different terms than when he was a powerhouse in the corporate world. For him, giving these kids their first introduction to aviation and offering them new directions for their future is an incomparable accomplishment.

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