Builder Medical Emergency Update

Builders,

While we were at Corvair College #39, one of the builders present had a very serious sudden onset of a medical problem. We took him to Aiken (SC) Medical Center. For obvious reasons of privacy and human dignity, we asked that none of the people present at the college discuss nor reveal the man’s name or his specific condition. Because he is without family, of modest resources and 700 miles from home, three of us stayed behind at the beginning of the week to arrange his care and transport, which initially looked like it could be done on Wednesday morning.

.

On Sunday night, several builders opted to stay over and assist cleaning up after the College. We ate dinner together and discussed what could be done for the man in the hospital. Peter Jhones was the first to suggest a fund drive and contributed $100 to start it. In a few hours I had Shelley Tumino, who does our College registrations set up a formal Go Fund Me account, and send a notification and the privacy request to everyone who attended the College. In a few hours this was also posed on the Corvair College Face Book page (You can read this here, you don’t need a FB account: https://www.facebook.com/CorvairCollege/ ) This was then shared with larger groups of aviators, and within a few hours, the inherent generosity of aviators came through and we had nearly $7,000 in the operational budget to get the ailing man home and give him a small start at recovery. Along with the funds came a number of private notes from Corvair builders offering services from driving to ER doctors offering to assist. It was very moving, and brought some light to a man without family, lying in a bed far from home. As it turned out this was the only good news on Wednesday.

.

His doctors tentatively approved his discharge for Tuesday at 9am. They ruled out travel by air, and I doubt any airline would have accepted him. Corvair/Panther Builder Chris Michaelis, who had been incredibly good at the man’s bedside offered to take a shot at driving him the full 700 miles on Wednesday. With that plan in place, I drove back to Florida in Tuesday night. When Chris arrived in the morning to get the discharge started, he was told our man had a terrible set of related complications hit him at 8am, and that we was not going anywhere this week.

.

What is needed now: Aiken is located in the corner of South Carolina between Augusta GA and Columbia SC. We need 2-3 people, willing to stop my and spend a hour visiting with this man, so we have someone there for him every day until he can be transported him. The Nursing staff in Aiken is excellent, but this isn’t the same as having another person from the outside. This person would also be able to relay messages to the group of us about what he might need. The man can communicate in person, but the nature of his issue precludes using a telephone. If you think that you could be this person, please call me on my cell phone at 386 451 3676. or send me an email to WilliamTCA@flycorvair.com  If you are far away and would like to help, consider a donation to the fund on the FB page.

.

Although I have only briefly known the man in the hospital, and am glad to share that he is a kind and thoughtful person, his reputation in insider and old school homebuilding circles is well known. In 40 years of working with planes in our corner of aviation, he has long developed a first class reputation as an extraordinary builder and pilot. As I sat in his quiet hospital room and looked at a small sleeping man wired to monitors and plumbed to IV’s , it was disturbing to think of how such a once bright and vibrant life in flight was now dimed to a tiny glow. My mind offered a stream of rational defense mechanisms, ‘things happen’; ‘you can’t fix everything’; ‘some people choose to lead solitary lives’ and so on, but in person in the room, none of these offered any emotional armor. The pervasive understanding that filled the room is the simple understanding that barring a few simple twists of fate and fortune, it could be any of us lying in that bed.

.

IMG_8733

.

wewjr.

.

 

.

.

.