AMARILLO, Texas— Aside from police officers, firefighters, the military and medical professionals, not many people get to experience what it feels like to save someone’s life on a regular basis. But for U-Haul Pilot Dante Edwards, transporting a child on the brink of death is old hat.
U-Haul maintains aircraft that are used to transport Team members whose work requires the oversight of large areas. Recently, while between flights, Edwards was working in the Amarillo airport’s courtesy office when a gentleman from Ministry Wings Aviation called. This nonprofit organization finds empty seats on airplanes to help those in need.
“At the time, there was a way that you could see the tail numbers of the airplanes that had flight plans filed out of the airport,” Edwards explained. “The guy from Ministry Wings Aviation called and introduced himself, and told me that he had a 5-year-old child suffering from a brain aneurysm who needed to be transported to Dallas.”
In the right place at the right time
The boy had undergone a procedure at the children’s hospital in Dallas two weeks prior, but some complications developed.
“They didn’t think he’d make it through a car trip and they didn’t have any other means to get him to Dallas,” Edwards relayed. “We are so random in our destinations. It was divine intervention this time that the means met the purpose.”
After confirming that the next destination of the U-Haul corporate plane was Dallas, Ministry Wings asked if there was room aboard the flight for the child and his family. Touched by the child’s situation, Edwards immediately called and requested permission from his supervisor. “Go-ahead” secure, Edwards began gathering the information he needed to transport the boy.
Prior life-saving experience
In the five years Edwards has been with U-Haul, this is the first time he has been asked to transport someone requiring medical attention. But prior to working for U-Haul, Edwards was a medical transport pilot. That experience was vital in this delicate situation.
“Once I had the OK on my end, I wanted to know for sure that this child had clearance from his doctor to fly,” Edwards emphasized. “I insisted that the organization get the doctor’s clearance.”
When the boy and his family arrived at the airport, they were visibly emotional and concerned.
“They were all pretty stressed out,” Edwards recalled. “It was a big deal. They thought they were going to lose their son. They were all pretty traumatized.”
A life saved
After a brief 70 minute flight, Edwards touched down in Dallas. Friends of the boy’s family met them at the airport and completed the transfer to the children’s hospital where the boy received more specialized treatment. A week later, Edwards received a follow up call from Ministry Wings Aviation to update him on the boy’s status.
“They told me that the boy was on the mend and would be home soon,” Edwards remarked. “I feel really good about what we did that day. They said that our flight saved his life.”
For Edwards, flying this child and his family a small distance was a trip down memory lane. But to the boy and his family, it meant the world.
“It was just a dire moment for them, and you could tell they were so grateful we could help,” Edwards commented. “Much like all those flights that I did when I professionally flew an air ambulance … you always feel good when you help someone survive the day. It’s an amazing feeling.”