spotlight story: valencia alum and board member brad pierce and angel flight of southeast mission to save lives

Brad Pierce, Valencia Alum and Valencia Foundation board member, and the Angel Flight Southeast, a charitable flying company, continue to use their passion of flying to provide urgent medical aid to those in need. Reflecting on a recent trip to Miami to bring a young girl in Orlando to two needed organs, Brad shares: “I pulled into the airport knowing it was game day, this flight would be among the most important I’ve ever flown in my life.  Every aspect of this mission needed to be performed flawlessly.  I did a quick (yet thorough) pre-flight of my Turbo Cirrus SR22 Aircraft and determined everything was in a safe condition for a flight.  Moments later my passengers arrived – a courageous young woman and her caring father. I typically do more coddling of new passengers before taking flights, explaining every aspect of the flight to ease their comfort level. Tonight was different however, we were racing time which was an expiring commodity so there was only time for the necessary safety briefing.  Before starting the engine however, the father turned to me and simply said “thank you” as he extended his hand. I looked at him and replied, “I’m happy to help – my job tonight is to get you to Miami quickly and safely – yours is to relax and enjoy the flight.”  With those quick sentiments exchanged, it was “go time”.

Quickly, Brad started the engine, checked in with air traffic control and was cleared for takeoff. In the pursuit of a potential resolution, the moods of the passengers changed. The passengers shifted from worry to positivity as they got closer and closer to their destination. With a smooth flight, gentle landing and an exchange of words of gratitude, the young girl was quickly rushed to the operating room where the doctors performed her transplant. In a dash to get his passengers to Miami safely, Brad took a breath, reflected and prepared for lift off from Miami to Orlando. Reminiscing on the moment, he shares: “I took a moment to catch my breath before my return flight to Orlando. I chatted with the fantastic mission coordination staff from Angel Flight Southeast who are the ones whom really made this all possible. I gave them a thorough briefing on the details of the mission performance including expressing my gratitude for all that they do each day. A short while later, I was lifting off once again, a bit lighter with no passengers, but with a heart filled with joy. The flight back to Orlando was smooth and allowed for reflection of all that transpired over the past few hours.  The special nature of this mission really began to sink in. Although I was no longer using the MedEVAC call-sign, air traffic control provided extra courtesy as a returning Angel Flight and allowed me to return home quickly which was appreciated.”

Above the actual contribution of being able to lend support to this cause, person in need and mission, Brad walked away with a bigger life-changing lesson: keeping hope. “As I reflect back on this flight, I can’t help but to think of the profound effect it had on my life.  I thought I was simply giving these passengers help in a time of need – the reality is they were giving me a lesson in life that no amount of money can buy.  They inspired me to look beyond the little problems in everyday life and to realize the things that are truly important.  Success is about having a good attitude, believing in yourself and being appreciative for what you have in life.  Keep up the hope no matter how dire the situation and good things will come to you.  This life lesson was the best Christmas gift I could have ever received,” he shares.

Encouraged by Brad and Angel Flight Southeast, we are inspired by you. Thank you for sharing!

To read more about this wonderful story, visit Brad’s blog at


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