February 23, 2022
Reposted from Angel Flight South Central "Mission Central" newsletter February 22, 2022. Click on the logo below for the entire article with photographs.
Volunteer pilot and Board Member Ray Bailey is a nominee for the 2022 Endeavor Award. The award recognizes pilots who exemplify personal contribution and commitment to charitable flying by volunteering their time, resources, and aircraft to help others.
Ray’s dedication to serving others began shortly after his first pilot lesson in high school in 1974. After graduation, he joined the Air Force and was stationed in Alaska where he was able to pursue his newfound passion for flying. He later landed a job with the U.S. Department of the Interior where he flew bush planes that transported people to remote Alaskan villages and also provided fire support.
After reconnecting with a friend from the Air Force, he decided to explore a new career in engineering at Audio Communications in Anchorage, AK. His career path eventually brought him to the Dallas area where he opened his own business, Lone Star Communications.
Ray began volunteering with Angel Flight after learning about the organization from his sister. She was receiving treatment in Atlanta for colon cancer when she met a fellow patient who had arrived at the medical facility via Angel Flight. She shared the information with Ray and he immediately recognized the immense benefit of the organization. After his sister lost a two-year battle with cancer in 2004, Ray has continued to fly each mission in honor of her memory.
“Every time I fly an Angel Flight I think of my sister. I fly this in memory of her.”
- Ray Bailey
In addition to flying patients, Ray is one of the first volunteers to jump in for disaster relief missions. He flew the first mission into Baton Rouge, Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, carrying food and supplies to stranded residents. Later in the year, he evacuated people from Beaumont, Texas ahead of Hurricane Rita, flying one of the last missions to help people relocate to a safer location ahead of the storm.
When Haiti was hit by a 7.0 earthquake in 2010, Ray jumped into action with multiple flights carrying doctors, counselors, and medical supplies to the island. His Alaskan bush pilot experience came in handy while landing his King Air on unimproved surfaces. He also transported food from the Dominican Republic to remote areas. In 2017, Hurricane Harvey provided another opportunity for Ray to help those in the Houston area by bringing over 8,000 pounds of food and supplies on flights.
While Ray is hoping to fly his 300th mission in 2022, his contributions to AFSC extend beyond the missions he flies. His company, Lone Star Communications, continues to be a prominent sponsor of AFSC fundraising efforts, including providing matching funds for North Texas Giving Day. He served as Treasurer for six years and continues to be an invaluable member of AFSC’s Board of Directors. In recognition of his ongoing support to AFSC, Ray received the Silver Wing Award at the AFSC Mission Possible: Soaring Heart Gala in 2020.
This content was created by Angel Flight South Central. www.angelflightsc.org