Join us at 1 p.m. ET Thursday for an AARP Coronavirus Tele-Town Hall on managing your money. Learn more.
by Joe Treen, AARP The Magazine, January/February 2008 issue
The first time someone asked Ed Boyer if he could take a patient with a rare disease to a specialized hospital in the tiny, single-engine plane owned by his Virginia flying club, he thought nothing of it. Nor did he think much of it the second time. Nor the third. It was only after flying several patients—often children whose families could not afford a regular flight—that he began to see a need. So in 1972, Boyer founded Mercy Medical Airlift, the nation's first medical-air-transportation charity. In the 35 years since, he has overseen the development of a well-organized national network of airlift services—the Air Charity Network—that flew more than 25,000 patients in 2007 alone. "Typically there is all kinds of money for medical research but not a dime to help people get there," says Boyer, 70, who took early retirement in 1992 to work full-time on the venture. Today more than 7,500 volunteer pilots have signed on; recently Mercy Medical Airlift began programs to help evacuees in the wake of national emergencies, and to transport military families affected by deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan. As for Boyer, he stopped flying patients to devote himself to the larger picture. "I realized this wasn't going to become a national system with me flying them one at a time," he says. "Somebody had to put the thing together."
Please leave your comment below.
You must be logged in to leave a comment.
Members save 5% on a monthly subscription.
Members save 30% off the first year of a World Explorer subscription.
Members save 20% on purchases or $20 when they spend $79.99 or more.
AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.
You are leaving AARP.org and going to the website of our trusted provider. The provider’s terms, conditions and policies apply. Please return to AARP.org to learn more about other benefits.
Your email address is now confirmed.
Manage your email preferences and tell us which topics interest you so that we can prioritize the information you receive.
Explore all that AARP has to offer.
In the next 24 hours, you will receive an email to confirm your subscription to receive emails
related to AARP volunteering. Once you confirm that subscription, you will regularly
receive communications related to AARP volunteering. In the meantime, please feel free
to search for ways to make a difference in your community at