For FMCA's bulletin board
Back in 2001-2003 there was an organization called Angel Bus that provided volunteers with motor coaches to transport people in need between their homes and distant specialized medical facilities. Because of illness, the man who ran Angel Bus was not able to continue the effort. There are some FMCA members who are interested in resurrecting Angel Bus as an FMCA chapter supported activity. My purpose in posting this is to see if there are any other members who would like to be part of forming the chapter. If you are, please send your name, F#, and e-mail to me at email@example.com.
We are still exploring how this would be done, but a final plan is coming into focus. It would involve forming an International Area chapter that would build and maintain a list of FMCA members who are willing to volunteer their services to help someone with a lift. The qualifying of the people needing transportation and the arrangement of the specifics of the trip, called a mission, would be done by Mercy Medical Airlift.
ANGEL BUS BACKGROUND
Back in 2000, Bill Conner, an FMCA member, started and maintained a group called Angel Bus. It was modeled after the Angel Flight organization. Both groups provide free transportation between home and a specialized medical facility for people who need it and cannot afford the high cost of commercial ambulance, or air ambulance, service. Angel Bus functioned for a few years until Mr. Conner got sick and then passed away. Because he was the heart of the organization, the function ended when he was no longer able to do the job. His wife has turned all his records over to Angel Flight (specifically Mercy Medical Airlift).
Several FMCA members had volunteered to support Angel Bus missions. Everyone I have talked to, or read about, has said how rewarding it was that they were able to help someone who was in such need. There was an article on Angel Bus in the May 2002 issue of Family Motor Coaching titled "Driving to Make a Difference," which is available on fmca.com.
MERCY MEDICAL AIRLIFT
Mercy Medical Airlift is a nonprofit organization that does the actual mission scheduling for Angel Flight. Mercy Medical also works with several other organizations to provide free, medically necessary, transportation for the needy. They also provide some transportation for the Make a Wish foundation (see www.wish.org). They have about 10,000 missions per year. Of those, about 8,000 are filled by providing regular airline tickets. Most of the remaining 2,000 are filled by Angel Flight. If we form an Angel Bus chapter, our members would be an additional resource for them to use. The big advantage for us is that they are already set up to receive, qualify, and process requests for transportation. They are also experienced and have a full time staff in place to contact potential volunteers, and to schedule specific missions.
You can see more about them at mercymedical.org. There is an interesting video on their site about what they do. I think highspeed Internet is needed to see it. It is very heavy into the wonders of flying, but you can see the organizations they are involved with and the scope of the services they provide.
You can also do a search on "Angel Flight" and find several web sites. Angel Flight is divided into different geographic areas, and most have their own site.
ANGEL BUS CHAPTER
If we form an Angel Bus chapter, the place to do it would probably be at the FMCA convention at Albuquerque. We must have 30 member families to form a regular chapter. In reality, we would need more than that to make Angel Bus work. We would also need to elect a President, VP, Secretary, Treasurer, National Director, and Alt ND. We probably ought to have a Volunteer Coordinator who would maintain a list of the members who are ready to volunteer. This would be different from the membership list of those who have paid their dues. The other critical person is the Newsletter Editor.
There is also a lot of paperwork that needs to be done. I have a copy of the new standard package from FMCA headquarters on how to form a chapter and it is, or soon will be, on the web site.
We also need to decide what the chapter will do other than run missions. Some things to consider are: Should we have a regular pre or post convention rally, area rallies, name tags, an emblem for on our coaches, news letter, dues, etc. (Note: There is a neat Angel Bus logo.)
To avoid as many legal and insurance problems as possible, the volunteers must provide all transportation needs - including the coach, driver, fuel, their own food, etc. - at their own expense. Documented expenses are tax deductible.
Volunteers will not be expected to provide any medical assistance.
Patients/passengers will provide their own food, any motel expenses, etc.
Patients will usually have an escort to help them, if needed. This will usually be a family member.
One volunteer's mission will be less than one day in duration (500 miles). Longer distances will be covered in relay with several volunteers.
Volunteers may accept or reject any mission requested.
PRIVATE COACH ENTHUSIAST
I have several articles about Angel Bus that appeared in the "Private Coach Enthusiast" magazine. They are rather large .jpg files, but I can send them to you if you would like to see them. They are primarily folks talking about what they did on their "Mission." The "Private Coach Enthusiast" was published by Mr. Connor and had a page in every issue, which served as the news letter for Angel Bus.
If you have any interest in being part of the effort to form an Angel Bus chapter, please send me your name, F#, and E-mail address and I will put you on the list for whatever we send out. We are also looking for volunteers to take on specific tasks to get the chapter organized.
It would also be helpful if you pass the word about Angel Bus on to your friends, at chapter meetings or in their news letter, or on other motor coach bulletin boards. I am putting this on one section of the FMCA and Bus Conversions bulletin boards. The only people who will see it are those who go to the particular parts of those boards.
Angel Bus will give us all an opportunity to help others and have some memorable experiences. Please join in.
George Myers L2014s