Once again, Wings of Hope will be leaving San Pedro, but this time, it is only to relocate to Belize City, Pilot Elis Olsson explained. He, his wife Dudley (and daughters Lanier, 6 and Maja, 3) came to San Pedro on June 22, 1998 to take over as Field Directors for the Belize operation of Wings of Hope. Wings of Hope has operated with volunteer pilots in Belize since 1982. They operate through financial support from the Ministry of Health and private donations. Wings of Hope base operations will be relocating to Belize City in August. The move will make the aircraft more centrally located to better serve the people of Belize. "Although the aircraft will be relocated to Belize City, Wings of Hope will continue to provide air ambulance service to the people of San Pedro. We'll only be a phone call away and, in most cases, we will be here in 30 minutes or less," commented Mr. Olsson. They will now be part of the Belize Emergency Response Team, (BERT), a Belizean non-governmental organization headquartered in Belize City.
Sadly the Olssons will not be making the same move. Wife Dudley and the children will be moving back to the US in mid-July followed by Elis in early August. They plan to live in Virginia. "We will really miss San Pedro. The people here have been wonderful. Both of our daughters go to school here and have made a lot of friends, so it will be hard to leave," said Elis. He continued, "I'm proud of what we've accomplished as part of Wings of Hope. I think it's a very important service for the people of Belize. In the past year, we've flown over 250 patients for treatment, many from San Pedro."
On behalf of himself and Wings of Hope, Elis also wished to thank the local airlines for their support through the years. He ended by saying, "The aircraft is maintained by Luis Acosta, an employee of Tropic Air, who does an excellent job. Luis is very thorough. He is a good mechanic and a good friend and will continue to help keep Wings of Hope flying."
Replacing Elis as volunteer pilot will be John Pavese who will be moving here from Vermont, USA. He has flown for Wings of Hope as a relief pilot in Belize in the past, most recently in April of this year.
Anyone wishing information or needing service is asked to call 2097 or 0175671 (pager number will remain the same after the move).
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