Houston Ground Angels
Tony Castiglie, Vice President and Treasurer
Memorial Day weekend is always a nice way to end the month of May. It is a reminder of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice so we can live in the country we do.
May was another successful month; the 313 missions run was by far the best May ever and the first May in which we ran over 300 missions. This year’s daily average is 10, something we had never before achieved. Fifty-one volunteers stepped up to make this happen with Uber helping us fulfill the difficult missions, i.e. rush hour traffic, late evening runs or short notice requests. As a result, our forecast for 2019 has been increased to 3,500 missions, the most ever.
Thus far, we have run 1,469 missions, 52 percent of which are run by the Archangels. While we appreciate every volunteer who runs a mission, the Archangels are one of the reasons for our success. Who are they:
Top 10 Volunteers – 2019
1. Dick Stabell
2. Sandra Begalke
3. Charles Whitworth
4. Tony LaRosa
5. David LaFargue
We are deeply appreciative for the dedication of the Archangels.
Thus far, Uber is still working out well. In 2018, we had 599 unfilled missions; thus far in 2019, the number is 24 and none in the past three months. The intent is to use Uber only as a last resort when a mission is not chosen by a volunteer. Mission Coordinator, Mary Hutto, does not contact Uber until the night before a mission is to be run. Thus far in 2019, Uber has satisfied 491 missions, about 27 percent of total, missions that would have gone unfilled. The feedback from patients has been highly favorable. But no matter how effective, Uber may be, an Uber driver will never offer the compassion and support our volunteers provide to patients.
May 17, 2019
Dear Houston Ground Angels,
Thank you for all you do to help Richard and me. I cannot count the times your volunteers have helped us! And, when you couldn’t, you have gotten Uber for us – so of course that too is help from you – just not a volunteer.
Mary has been wonderful to help us on the phone and we have met such special people who have taken us to and from our planes. We have many good memories of your people.
At the moment, we are back to coming to M.D. Anderson more often and once again, you are meeting our every need.
Many times, we have driven to M.D. Anderson from Bartlesville, OK so we know how much traffic there is in Houston. We especially appreciate your volunteers (“native” of Houston or at least people who know the roads) who volunteer!
Sandra & Richard
Mission Management System
We are also working on some improvements to our Mission Management System. The fellow who originally designed and maintained the system passed away several years ago and it left us in a difficult position. A group from Insperity has recently volunteered their services and we hope to get on top of it again. The volunteers will be kept abreast of the project’s status.
As always, to every volunteer who steps up, thank you for your contribution. 2019 is looking good!