And Houston Ground Angels
Tony Castiglie, Vice President and Treasurer
Did I miss something over the last few months? Something called Winter. There were a few days along the way that would best be described as chilly rather than cold. I always look forward to some cold days where I can wear long sleeve shirts and a jacket and light my fireplace. There were not very many opportunities to do that this winter. I like these days because they are a nice respite from the long, hot, and humid days of a Houston summer, which is just around the corner.
For sports fans, we got LSU winning the National Championship in College Football, Kansas City Chiefs winning the Super Bowl, and the beginning of Baseball’s Spring Training. What has been so nice about the Astros seasons over the last few years is that it brings the Houston Community together. With the hiring of Dusty Baker, as the new manager for the Houston Astros, perhaps we can get beyond the sign stealing scandal and get back to some sense of normalcy.
For the Houston Ground Angels, we continue to move on, looking forward to another successful year.
Missions Run, January – 239.
Daily Average – 8.
Volunteers Running Missions – 39.
Unfulfilled Missions – 85 (26.23%).
Uber Missions – 21.
Of the 239 missions run this year, 66% were run by the Archangels, our Top Ten Volunteers. Who are they?
Top 10 Volunteers – 2020
Peggy Johnson, 9
Buena Burnett, 8
Bob Joyce, 5
Christine Reid, 5
e are deeply appreciative for the dedication of all our Volunteers, but there are always a few who stand out. Dick Stabell, Charles Whitworth, Gerry Rein and Sandra Begalke are continuing their outstanding mission totals. Other Volunteers are also on their way. Where would we be without them!
The real success of this organization has always been those select few who run lots of missions, some who have been with us for many years and have chalked up big numbers. The accumulative contribution of these Volunteers:
All Time & Still Active
Charles Whitworth, 1,852
Sandra Begalke, 1,164
Dick Stabell, 902
Charles Gibson, 853
Mary Hutto, 636
Houston Ground Angels has now completed over
since it began as a separate entity back in 2006!
Elsewhere in this newsletter, you can read the whole story about the upcoming Jiffy Lube advertising and promotional program and their choice of having Houston Ground Angels as part of it. But here is just a small piece. Director Rebecca Maitland suggested I be the representative for the organization. As a reward, for my part, I was to be given a $3,500.00 gift card. Since there are volunteers far more worthy of this than I am, I asked that the gift cards be distributed to other volunteers. Jiffy Lube agreed. While discussing this at the last Board of Directors meeting, it was decided that the gift cards would be distributed to the Top 12 volunteers from last year.
Uber continues to work out well in filling some gaps for some truly needy patients. We no longer provide blanket, across the board, Uber rides for patients whose requests we are unable to fulfill with volunteers. Over the years Mission Coordinators Mary Hutto and Kathy Cardiff have developed a relationship with most patients and are able, for the most part, to identify the truly needy. So we now rely on their judgement.
We will continue to closely monitor the Uber program.
January 14, 2020
Houston Ground Angels,
Words cannot express how grateful and appreciative of the rides that you provided to my mom Miriam while she was getting treatments at M.D. Anderson. It was such a blessing to have Charles come pick us up at the airport. There was always so much stress but worrying about how to get to the hospital was not one of them. My mom passed away 06/12/19 and is now in heaven. I hope you can use this to help others.
January 24, 2020
I want to thank you for your diligence in accommodating my travel needs! You worked so hard. I was ready to give up but you persisted. And for that, I am truly grateful.
Carol Stream, Illinois
Mission Management System
Through the efforts of Director Derek King, working with a volunteer group from Insperity, we are finally making some major progress in getting the Mission Management System under control. The addition of Derek to the board has been a big plus. More details can be found under a separate section of this newsletter.
January was a very successful month for recruiting new volunteers, primarily through the effort of new Board of Directors Derek King and Bob Joyce. Recruiting has been on our front burner and new volunteers are always welcome. Who are they:
Ellis Locher. Galleria area
Henry Walters. League City
Missy Peterson. Spring
Marlene Bocanegra. Humble
Gary LeCamu. Hempstead
Christy Lambert. Spring
Curt Henderson. Champions/FM1960
Doris Snipp. The Woodlands
Welcome aboard to all who joined. You will find this a very rewarding experience.
We are fortunate to have two volunteers returning to active status. Lynn Walker, who resides in Lake Jackson, originally joined our organization back in 2009. Nancy Somogyi resides in Pearland and joined us in 2012. It is our pleasure to have you ladies back with us.
As always, to every volunteer who steps up, thank you for your contribution. The year 2020 should be an interesting and productive year for Houston Ground Angels. Wishing everyone good health and prosperity. Peace and love to all.
Rebecca Maitland, Director
Last November, Houston Ground Angels was notified by a public relations firm in California that Jiffy Lube was choosing one non-profit in only four cities for part of a marketing program: Houston, Los Angeles, Chicago and New York. Houston Ground Angels was chosen for the Houston area.
As the chosen non-profit for Houston, Jiffy Lube and staff, a professional interviewer, cameramen and a representative from Shell Oil (Shell owns Jiffy Lube), and I met at West Houston Airport for an interview with our Vice President and Treasurer, Tony Castiglie. The commercial was filmed upstairs by the windows where planes could be seen flying in and out. Then, they filmed Tony as he was pulling into the airport and driving out to the planes to pick up a (fake) patient to give the public a good sense of what it means to be a Volunteer with HGA. The planning, organizing and scheduling of the video took a couple of weeks to complete.
Tony did an awesome job in the interview. He talked about the history of the organization, our great Volunteers and the patients we serve. Again, he did an excellent job.
The video was filmed and will be used on the Jiffy Lube website and may be shown in different commercials, on blogs, television, and wherever they find it useful to let the public know that Jiffy Lube cares about non-profits that do so much for so many.
For the work, time scheduling and organizing this commercial took on Tony's part, Jiffy Lube offered Tony a nice gift card for Jiffy Lube service stores. Tony asked if he could give it to Volunteers that he thought were more deserving, and Jiffy Lube agreed. This is how humble and thoughtful Tony is.
Mission Management System
Derek King, Board of Directors Member
During the next few weeks, HGA will launch its new website and Mission Management System - thanks to the efforts of Insperity, a specialist IT provider who is assisting us pro-bono. Our current system has two parts, the website, which is our face to the general community and hidden behind it, a link to the Mission System where Mary and Kathy record patient and mission requests and our volunteers identify and accept the rides. The code and set up for the mission systems was written almost 20 years ago - so when I say hidden, it cannot be captured and updated.
An attempt to relocate the website and portal to the mission system to a more accessible provider was unsuccessful and caused us to lose many pages - links were broken and as you no doubt experienced, "time to load" was very frustrating. Your patience in logging back in multiple times is appreciated - one ride at a time - and we have somehow held it together.
The new website is being assembled from scratch - repeating the applicable pages where we can - but many need to be re-written. The mission system will seem to be separate as volunteers and staff will need to log in to access, but will be integral to the new host provider. Speed issues are expected to be resolved. You will notice a few changes intended to make both volunteer and patient activities easier and more effective.
1. The layouts will be simplified and all the "pilot" related data will no longer be collected.
2. There will be "buttons" to view, accept and get email of mission details. Screen steps will be reduced.
3. Patients will be able to record their personal data (but no medical info) and separately request a mission - all on line if they can access the forms. Of course, patients who "do not text or do web" will still be able to call the HGA desk.
4. Some patient info like city and zip code, flight number, and scheduled arrival times need to be collected.
5. Our increasing mission requests require we actively seek grants and added donations - to assist in this, some added patient information gathering is critical. This data is entirely statistical and pooled.
6. Intent is for computer/IPad and smart Phone functionality for both patients and drivers.
When you begin to see the changes, please try to do your thing and explore. Your feedback and suggestions for improvement will be most appreciated - as until a light is shone into all the dark corners, we will not be sure the system is functioning as intended. Some patience will be required.
Meanwhile - The end of the World is nigh.