MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Twin Cities veteran is being recognized for his commitment to helping others.
Angel Flight provides free flights to people in need. Volunteer pilot Gordy Lewis, 90, has taken that responsibility to a whole-new level.
Lewis got his wings later in life. His son gave him flying lessons for his 67th birthday.
“I called and arranged my first flight with an instructor, and that was all downhill from there,” Lewis said.
Lewis started volunteering with Angel Flight Central two decades ago. The nonprofit helped this veteran marry his passion for giving back with his love of flying.
“It’s a thrill to be able to do both together,” Lewis said.
He transports patients and caregivers to doctor’s appointments, often flying from the Dakotas to the Mayo Clinic.
“For the most part, they would have had no other way to obtain medical help without somebody volunteering to transport them,” Lewis said.
He cherishes the friendships made in flight, and often transports the same patients multiple times.
“Many of them are still on my Christmas card list. I keep in contact, I get invitations to some of their weddings as some of the kids grow up,” Lewis said. “It really is very exciting.”
Lewis has flown more Angel Flights this year than any other year, with 23 so far. That dedication led to a milestone: 300 Angel Flights.
“You should have seen me when I came home from the 300th flight. I was really on air,” he said. “I couldn’t stop jumping up and down.”
He will pilot his next Angel Flight on Tuesday, which will be flight 301 if you’re counting.
And he will be honored for his service on Nov. 17 with Angel Flight Central’s Lifetime Achievement Award in Kansas.
It’s the first time the award has been given in their 22 years of operation.