“We had no idea how we were going to make it San Francisco.”
“This was going to be a 12-hour drive each way for our family.”
“I’m going to have to sell my house.”
“I can’t keep asking my friends and family for more money to cover my trips.”
Every day we receive phone calls from people who feel that they’ve run out of options. There’s always a unique tension on the other end of the line, and in the caller’s tone of voice, you can hear a complex mix of emotional states: sadness, hope, desperation, obstinance, and perseverance. Part of the gift of working for AFW is that we can often present a solution to what was previously thought of as an unsolvable problem. As we begin to lay out what our volunteers and our service can do, we hear a shift take place. The soft-spoken sadness and desperation start to give way to hope and perseverance.
In the coming months, I will assume the role of Earth Angel Coordinator where my efforts will be devoted to the last mile of AFW missions. Our Earth Angel program, as it currently stands, has demonstrated just how effectively our volunteer drivers help relieve a passenger’s anxiety around travel and how these drivers continue to create a seamless experience for people who just don’t need another obstacle in their lives. As an organization, one of our primary objectives is to create less hassle for those who should devote their energy to health and recovery, and at times, the last leg of the trip can be a major stressor. When considering my new role, its responsibilities, and its challenges, I always think back to the person on the other end of the line. I hear hope and resilience strengthening her voice as we begin to map out her journey to care end-to-end. Ultimately, I dream of working with the Mission Ops team to create such a well-oiled transportation chain that a man can feel like he steps out the front door of his house in Arcata, CA, blinks, and arrives on Stanford’s campus—ready to tackle the next round of cancer treatment.
On the Mission Ops team, we are laser-focused on the efficiency of our processes, but we’re also constantly searching for ways to get the biggest bang for our buck because, at the end of the day, that means more people served. Our organization has grown considerably over the past three decades with more flights flown each year, and we’re not looking to pump the brakes. In fact, we’re ready to see how fast we can take this baby from zero to sixty.
Blue skies & paved roads,
Alexandro, AFW Earth Angel Coordinator