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The Atlanta Chapter made a hospital visit in October, before the busy holiday season. It was to the Hughes Spalding Children’s Hospital in downtown Atlanta. We have a longstanding relationship with them and they always welcome us with smiles.
Our mixed group (three airlines; ExpressJet, Delta, Endeavor) hit all three floors of the children’s hospital. On the second floor was a large waiting area for the different clinics. It was unusually full. We “divided and conquered”, splitting into small groups and going back-and-fort to the wagons (where we had the toys). There was a lady who is one of the major fundraisers for the hospital. She and her small group of prospective donors happened to follow us into this room and observed the before-and-after in the waiting area. This lady made it a point to stop us before we departed the building. She noted there was some uncertainty in the kids about what was going on as we were passing out the stuffed animals and electronic games. This is normal—since they don’t normally see a bunch of pilots pulling wagons and passing out toys! Anyhow, after we left and the children resumed sitting with their parents, she observed lots of smiles and a high degree of excitement throughout the many kids and adults. This fundraising group paused for several minutes and the joy on the kids’ faces continued to last.
We really do make a difference.
For the kids,
Pilots For Kids
I decided to squeeze-in one more summer visit before the busier autumn season begins. It was still very warm, but there has certainly been a hint in the air of what’s around the corner for north Georgia.
We have a new coordinator at Hughes Spalding Children’s Hospital, Ms. MaKaylie Morris. She made us feel very welcome! She spends most of her time as the Child Life Specialist at the hospital. We look forward to many more visits—and she also wanted us to know, “The more the merrier,” with respect to holiday visits. Be prepared to see more on this in the near future.
The visit was on a Tuesday, which, we soon found out, is the day least-populated with kids at the hospital. Our downsized group, due to last-minute (Reserve) flying and someone tending to their own health, was just about the right size. We did, however, have three new folks, which was the perfect way to start with Pilots For Kids.
The several different Sesame Street stuffed animals were a big hit, but so were the Rubik’s cubes for some of the older kids. There were also several fidget spinner toys passed-out, too!
The relaxing meal afterwards, at the Sweet Auburn Curb Market, was filled with . . . airline talk, of course!
Those attending: Rich Striker (Delta), Anthony Hawkins (ExpressJet), Brooks Broeckelman (Delta), Stephen Elrod (JetBlue), and Don Myers (Delta)
Atlanta Area Coordinator
Another short-notice visit ended up with just the right number of PFKers, since the Hughes Spalding Children’s Hospital had fewer patients than any other time we’ve been there. This is good news, right?! We had one first-timer join us as we split into two teams to cover all the clinics and waiting rooms. Even though Ms. Sondra Brooks, the volunteer coordinator, was juggling three other activities, she still made sure we had the volunteers we needed to navigate through each floor.
The quick visit meant more time to share an early lunch across the street before heading back to our normal routines.
Those smile-makers attending: Ben Harris (Delta), Ryan Hickman (ExpressJet), Matt Person (ExpressJet), Hannah Peavy (ExpressJet), Steve Taylor (Delta), and Don Myers (Delta)
Atlanta Area Coordinator
Due to schedule coordination issues, we had a last-minute notice for our recent visit to the Hughes Spalding Childrenâ€™s Hospitalâ€”but that certainly didnâ€™t dampen the turnout. It might have been a record, but, if not, having seven (7) first-timers was amazing!
Once again, we were provided excellent volunteers to get us access and to make sure we hit all the floors and rooms. We started and ended in the large clinic waiting room and adjacent emergency waiting area. It was busy in both. Several of us were trained (or-retrained) on donning and doffing the protective garb used to enter some of the rooms (with permission, of course). It makes the visits into these spaces a bit harder, since the kids and parents canâ€™t see our big smiles, but the stuffed animals in our hands helps overcome that!
There were tons of smiles given and received during the visit. From my observation, it was hard to tell who was getting more out of the interaction, the pilots or the kids. Good stuff!
Many hands made for a faster-than-normal visitâ€”but that just meant there was more time for a group lunch at the great food outlets across the street. Since there was a really good mix of pilots, from several companies, the conversation was certainly stimulating.
Those attending: Zak Aman (ExpressJet), Jake Anderson (Delta), Joe Basilone (Delta), Aaron Boone (Flight Safety), Dave Biloz (Delta), Bob Brinker (Delta), Mike Gofman (Frontier), Ben Harris (ExpressJet), Bill Hutchinson (Delta), Nick Kaplan (Spirit), Howard Kwon (American), Erin Moneymaker (Delta), Don Myers (Delta), and Chip Pinyan (Delta)
Oh, thanks go to Joe, Erin, and Mike for taking the photos.
Atlanta Area Coordinator
The holidays are quite busy at the hospital the ATL PFKers normally visit, so we typically take a break during this timeâ€”and let several other organizations descend upon this group of kids. However, there were a couple of organizations that asked for some help: Called to Care is a small foster parent organization north of Atlanta. They had a Christmas party and asked for a couple of us to show our smiles. The Cobb County Foster Adoptive Parent Association had a Wrapping Partyâ€”to put the final touches on over 900 gifts.
At the first event, Tim Crites and Stephen Watts (both from Delta), showered the kids with a little holiday cheerâ€”and some stuffed animals, of course! For the second event, Hana Peavy (ExpressJet) rolled-up her sleeves and helped make the Wrapping Party a huge success. â€œWe wrapped for about nine hours! The donations covered toys-to-clothes, shoes, and even gift cards. They had enough stockings to share with the surrounding counties.â€ Wow!
Atlanta Area Coordinator
Just when I thought we were finally into autumn, we started having record, 85-degree temps . . . in early November! It made for a last-minute change of uniform, which is why it might look like a summer photo in the Gallery section.
We were fortunate to have Ms. Sondra Brooks, the person who coordinates all the volunteers at Hughes Spalding Childrenâ€™s Hospital (among many other things!), take us through the corridors. She normally leaves this job for some of her interns, so it was nice to visit with her between our time with the kids. As far as the stuffed animals went, the â€œbig sellerâ€ with the kids was definitely Clifford the Big Red Dog; a close second was Paddington Bear.
Our group was just the right size for the day. It included folks who have recently switched companies, are about to go to training in another companyâ€™s uniform, and those who marked their first visit with PFKâ€”as well as several â€œold-timersâ€. So, there was a lot to talk about, especially during the meal afterwards. Lunch, of course, was at the nearby market, which is filled with local eateries.
Those attending: Dave Biloz (Delta), Ryan Meloney (Endeavor), Brooks Broeckelman (Delta), Doug Israelite (Delta), Ben Harris (ExpressJet), Don Myers (Delta), and Matt Person (ExpressJet).
Atlanta Area Coordinator
No upcoming events or events in the past 12 months at this time. Contact the coordinator to see if there is an event they haven't posted yet!
16 October Visit - Hughes Spalding Children's Hospital
- Teresa (hospital volunteer), Mike Gofman, kids/parent, Doug Israelite - The group: (top) Chris Perez, Don Myers, Jon Roth; (bottom) Marx Davis, Alex Cardenas, Doug Israelite, Mike Gofman - Traditional post-visit lunch at Sweet Auburn Curb Market
3 Feb 2015 Visit
ATL-1-Feb2015: Casey Rocke (EV) helping Steve McDonald (DL) don protective garb ATL-2-Feb2015: Deirdre Manke (DL) with Lexi and her mother ATL-3-Feb2015: ATL February Visit: (top) Johnny McGee (NJ), Steve McDonald (DL), Casey Rocke (EV), Kevin Hindes (DL), AJ Pope (DL), Don Myers (DL), (bottom) Heide (vol.), Angie Millar ((DL), Stephen Watts (DL), Greg Badgett (DL), Deirdre Manke (DL), Nithya (vol.)
20 May Visit
- Howard Kwon gets a typical response from Nicklous Clark. - The 20 May attendees: Front: Stephen Watts (Delta), Angie Millar (Delta); Back: Howard Kwon (American), Johnny McGee (NetJets), Steve Taglia (ExpressJet), Brendan Stephen-Fowler (Envoy), Casey Rocke (ExpressJet), Elnova Williams (staff), Don Myers (Delta)
ATL 6 Oct & 19 Nov 2015 Visits
6 October 2015 visit. Front Row: Hamidah Ali (Hosp. Volunteer), Ryan Meloney (Endeavor), Brooks Broeckelman (ExpressJet), Mike Gofman (Frontier), Jon Roth (ExpressJet), Pam Barber (PSA), Nicole Woods (Hosp. Volunteer). Rear Row: Don Myers (Delta), Johnny McGee (NetJets), Greg Badgett (Delta), Chip Pinyan (Shuttle America), Hannah Peavy (ExpressJet), and Angie Millar (Delta). *** /// *** Mom and daughter, Evelyn, during 6 Oct 2015 visit with Ryan Meloney (ExpressJet) and Pam Barber (PSA). *** /// *** 19 November 2015 visit, before the wagons were depleted. Front Row: Hospital volunteers (and future healthcare workers) Rolla-Marie Wilson and Logan Dean. Rear Row: Doug Israelite (Delta), AJ Pope (Delta), JR Canales (Delta), Kevin Hines (Delta), Don Myers (Delta), Hannah Peavy (ExpressJet), Johnny McGee (NetJets), and Steve Taglia (ExpressJet).
17 Feb 2016 Visit
Posed Group: Back row: Dustin Owen (ExpressJet), Rick Charles (Compass), Scott Theumer (Southwest), Greg Badgett (Delta). Front row: Don Myers (Delta), Haley Grimes and De’Ondra Fletcher (Hosp. Volunteers), Brooks Broeckelman (ExpressJet) // Candid: Discussing best techniques for eating in the cockpit!
15 July 2016 Visit
In lobby with the goodies: Steve Charles, Ben Harris, Johnny McGee, Alex Tibbs, and Hannah Peavy **//** Lots of bright, shining faces: Jonathan Roth, Ben Harris, Alex Tibbs, and Steve Charles with little Iliana **//** Steve Charles getting less attention from Asma than the stuffed elephant **//** Alex Tibbs and Don Myers â€œgarbed upâ€ to see a special person **//** Steve Charles, Alex Tibbs, and Ben Harris making Emanuel almost smile **//** At lunch: (left) Ben Harris, Don Myers, Steve Charles, and Hannah Peavy; (right) Camila Tibbs, Alex Tibbs, Jonathan Roth, and Johnny McGee
2 Nov 2016 Visit
Group about to make lots of smiles: (back row, l-r) Dave Biloz, Ryan Meloney, Brooks Broeckelman, Doug Israelite, Ben Harris, Don Myers, and Matt Person. (front) Ms. Sondra Brooks. **//** Fun in the exam room: Ryan Meloney and Ben Harris with Jayla and Lashaun (and two purple Cleos)
ATL 2016 Holiday Activities
At Called to Care (three photos): The Taylor girls; Tim Crites and Elizabeth; Stephen Watts and Anna. **//** At CCFAPA (two photos): Before the work; then the results, with new friend MaKayla (l) and Hannah Peavy (r)
March 2017 "Proof of Visit"
Approaching our base of operations for the day. **//** Ready to hit the halls! **//** With Joe Basilone and Jake Anderson: Perhaps Makaylah (patient) would prefer the Clifford dog in Joeâ€™s hand? **//** Aaron Boone getting OJT on how to don the protective garb. **//** Fatimatu (patient) knows there are big smiles under Howard Kwonâ€™s and Nick Kaplanâ€™s masks. **//** Erin Moneymaker is an instant friends with Jakari. **//** Bob Brinker putting a smile on VJ (and Mom & Dad, too!) **//** Zak Aman supplying Nick Kaplan with goodies before he enters a room. **//** Just before the last swing through the waiting rooms: First row: Ben Harris, Joe Basilone, Erin Moneymaker, Dieynabou Diallo (hosp.), Emily Grevlich (hosp.), Bill Hutchinson, Dave Biloz. Second row: Chip Pinyan. Third row: Howard Kwon, Nick Kaplan, Zak Aman, Jake Anderson. Fourth row: Mike Gofman, Don Myers, Aaron Boone. **//** Post-visit chow . . . doing what we do best?? **//**
ATL 14 June 2017 Visit
Our small group before the 14 June 2017 fun: back row is Steve Taglia (DAL), Hannah Peavy (XJT), Ben Harris (DAL), Ryan Hickman (XJT), and Don Myers (DAL); front row is Matt Person (XJT), Taylor Dixon (hospital volunteer), and Kennedy Youmans (hospital volunteer) **//** William showing off his new Fidget Spinner to Ryan Hickman (XJT) and Ben Harris (DAL).
19 Sep 2017 2017 Visit
**//** With lots of toys, we’re ready to go! L-R: Rich Striker (DAL), Don Myers (DAL), Stephen Elrod (JetBlue), MaKaylie Morris (Hospital), Brooks Broeckelman (DAL), Anthony Hawkins (ExpressJet) **//** Rich Strker and Stephen Elrod in the waiting room with Alondyn, Bernard, and Mom **//**