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A local organization is making healthcare accessible to people in the poorest parts of the world. For more than 50 years, Wings of Hope has been medical transport for critical patients.

Wings of Hope President Don Hamblen and another volunteer recently traveled to Belize where the flights provide patients a smooth journey.

“From the southern part of Belize to where the hospital is in Belize City it could be a five hour very uncomfortable bumpy car ride as opposed to maybe an hour in an airplane,” Hamblen said.

The Belizean Emergency Response team makes an average of 250 emergency medical flights each year. A recent runway accident put its plane out of service, so Wings of Hope stepped in to help their counterparts.

“There have been hundreds of lives that have been saved because these are critically ill patients that get to a higher level of care than they would have otherwise,” he said.

Patients never see a bill for the travel accommodations. The volunteer-driven organization relies on donations and performs its own maintenance and renovation of airplanes.