Dr. Fred Poage’s own experience traveling long distances to get a loved one treatment inspired him to volunteer helping others in the same situation.
Poage, the medical director for free-standing emergency departments at Northwest Texas Healthcare System in Amarillo, volunteers as a pilot for Angel Flight South Central. Since 1991 its volunteer pilots have flown over 32,000 missions, offering free flights for medical or humanitarian reasons to patients in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico and Texas.
“My first wife passed away in December 2015 after a 6½-year battle with ovarian cancer, and we had to make countless multihour drives across Texas to get to her treatment, or to visit our family, while she was ill,” the emergency physician said via email. “After I got my pilot’s license, I knew immediately that I wanted to help transport patients and their families facing similar circumstances.”
He’s been a pilot for 3½ years and began volunteering for Angel Flight six months ago. So far he’s made 10 flights for the organization, with the longest eight hours.
The experience has been rewarding.
“This is one of my most favorite things to do! Each trip is very special and I get to meet a wide variety of people. One of the most rewarding things for me is developing a friendship with the patients and family I fly.”