Mercy Flight milestone

Submitted by the Orcas Island Community Foundation.

A significant milestone was reached the morning of January 9th as Gil Blinn flew his 1,000th Mercy Flight. The Orcas Aviation Association (OAA) and the Orcas Island community he serves congratulates Gil on this remarkable achievement assisting his community. An avid and skilled pilot with a commitment to community service, Gil joined the Orcas Aviation Association (OAA) in September 2003 and has subsequently averaged over 100 Mercy Flights a year. Gil also serves OAA as the official flight scheduler, connecting other Mercy Flight pilots with patients and family members.

When anyone on our island has a non-life-threatening accident or illness and needs to get to a mainland hospital NOW – Mercy Fights is there. If a patient has a critical appointment with a specialist or is scheduled for daily radiation or chemo, etc. an 8 – 10-minute flight to the mainland or Friday Harbor and back is a much better solution than an exhausting all-day round trip on the ferry. Family members are always welcome to accompany the patient and flights are always free to all Orcas residents and visitors. Gill and all the Mercy Flight Pilots hope you will never have to use their service, but just in case, they are there for you when you need them.

Operating informally since the 1980s, OAA incorporated and became an official FAA program in 1996. IRS approval as a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation was obtained in 2003. That approval by the FAA and the IRS allows Mercy Flight pilots to receive a portion of fuel reimbursement for flights. Pilots donate their time and use their own planes to conduct Mercy Flights. If you are interested in becoming a Mercy Flight Pilot, please give Gill a call at (360) 376-6579. Your support of this organization, and the wonderful service pilots like Gill provide, is greatly appreciated.

Help your community ensure this service is always available. DONATE TODAY to The Orcas Island Community Foundation – OAA Fund or send a check to OAA at PO Box 712, Eastsound, WA 98245.

Contributed photo
Contributed photo