Local man honored as 'Tennessee's Pilot of the Year' by Airlift Hope

Marci Gore • May 28, 2011 at 11:30 AM

When flying patients to and from their appointments at distant, specialized medical centers, Stephen Brumit says he’s acutely aware that he could be the patient in the back of someone’s plane.“I know that could be me. I feel like my ability and my desire to fly is God-given. I’m just using the talent and the equipment that he’s given me to do what, I feel like, is his work. I don’t see it as me doing it, but him being able to do things through me. Everybody has talents that are given to them. I feel like I’m trying to use mine. I'm just giving back,” Brumit said.Recently chosen by Airlift Hope as “Tennessee’s Pilot of the Year” for his work with the non-profit organization, Brumit was honored at a banquet held last month at Virginia Beach, Va. for his service.Airlift Hope serves ambulatory patients of all ages, with medical conditions ranging from rare diseases to burns to cancer. Because of the current economic recession, patients, now more than ever, often lack the financial means to pay for long-distance transportation.With access to more than 500 volunteer pilots who averaged 125 flights every month last year alone, Airlift Hope links flights with other volunteer pilot organizations in the mid-Atlantic region. In 2010, Tennessee pilots completed nearly 60 missions in coordination with Airlift Hope.Volunteer pilots provide the aircraft, either owned or rented, and handle all accompanying flight expenses, such as fuel and any necessary maintenance.Read the expanded version of this report in the print edition or the enhanced electronic version of the Kingsport Times-News.

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