Rob Ross has had his share of career experiences over the years, from L.A. lifeguard to prosecutor with the Ventura County District Attorney’s office to college professor. Today, he’s a managing partner with a family-owned real estate and solar investment company.
Fortunately for Angel Flight West, he’s also been a volunteer pilot for more than three decades.
Rob’s love of aviation began when he flew with his uncle when he was young and stayed with him into adulthood. Rob earned his pilot license in his mid-thirties and soon after, signed up to fly for Angel Flight West. “My family’s always been charitable,” he says. “And this was a good way to give back to the community.”
And give back is exactly what Rob did. He’s flown more than 300 AFW missions, and when he and his wife Cathie aren’t flying to Missoula, Mont. to visit grandkids, he’s still signing up for flights amidst his busy work schedule. “Rob has been one of our go-to volunteers over the years,” says Associate Executive Director Cheri Cimmarrusti. “He’s flown missions with barely a moment’s notice…”
Rob says it’s hard to truly realize the impact of angel flights until you experience one. “Each trip is a little different, but you always know you’re helping someone in dire need,” he says. “It allows you to volunteer your time in a hands-on way while also donating to the cause.”
One of Rob’s memorable missions came through a phone call in the middle of the night. An organ had become available, and a transplant patient needed to travel immediately from Riverside to San Francisco. Rob answered the urgent request, and the duo took off at 6 a.m. the next morning, ensuring the patient made it in time to receive their long-awaited transplant.
In addition to the connections he’s made with passengers, Rob appreciates the friendships he’s developed with staff over the years. “I’ve seen Angel Flight West grow a lot,” he says. “But it’s still the same great organization at heart.” Today, Rob resides in Santa Monica and flies a Piper Malibu Meridian.
As AFW prepares to fly its 100,000th mission this fall, we’re honored to recognize Rob for his 30+ year commitment to charitable aviation. Thousands of lives have been changed, and will continue to be changed, through donated flights from Rob and our other volunteers.