On Monday morning, Denver resident Phil Rosnik took off from Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport with 85 pounds of hand sanitizer in the cargo hold of his Cessna TR182. Destination: Wray Community District Hospital.
It’s not a typical flight for Rosnik, who’s a volunteer pilot for Angel Flight West (AFW), a charitable aviation organization that arranges free air transportation for people who need to travel long distances to get to their non-emergency medical appointments. AFW has 1,800 pilots across Colorado and 11 other Western states.
“Every day I get to fly is a good day,” Rosnik says, “but a day when I get to fly an AFW mission is a great day. Having a meaningful way to help out in a crisis, or to help bring a patient to needed treatment, is a special privilege for a life-long general aviation pilot!”
The flight was part of a monumental statewide effort by the Colorado Hospital Association (CHA) to get urgently needed supplies to the state’s rural hospitals.
“Forty-three percent of Colorado’s hospitals are rural,” says CHA Vice President Julie Lonborg, “which can present challenges when trying to restock vital supplies quickly. Colorado Hospital Association is incredibly grateful to Angel Flight West and its volunteer pilots for making their service available as we work to provide critical supplies to our rural hospitals. The volunteers who are working to help make that happen for rural Coloradans truly are angels – and we are thankful!”
Medical students from the Anschutz Medical Campus at the University of Colorado provided logistical support, collecting facemasks, disinfectant, and hand sanitizer from the manufacturers, and delivering them to a hangar donated by Signature Flight Support.
John Hart, the hospitals’ CEO, said, “Wray Community District Hospital is grateful for the Angel Flight West today. Cases of hand sanitizers were delivered this morning and distributed to the hospital, clinic, and nursing home. Thanks to Phil Rosnik with a heartfelt elbow bump for making the delivery. This is great coordination with many entities from the front range to the eastern plains!”