Angel Flight Southeast Fundraiser Honors Volunteer Pilots

A golf tournament fundraiser and awards dinner will take place April 10-11 at the Madison Green Golf Club in Royal Palm Beach for Angel Flight Southeast, a charity whose volunteer pilots fly medical patients with chronic conditions to doctor appointments and treatments.

“Angel Flight Southeast relies on a network of more than 650 private pilots who volunteer their time and aircraft to help get a patient to his or her needed medical appointment,” said Steve Purello, CEO of Angel Flight Southeast. “Led by our team of ‘care traffic controllers,’ we are able to arrange for approximately 3,000 flights each year.”

A foundation created by the family of the late Dr. Franklin Gray Norris, who dedicated himself to saving lives and shared a love of flying, makes the event possible. A former Air Force combat pilot, Dr. Norris became a noted thoracic and cardiovascular surgeon in Orlando.

Upon his passing, the Norris family created the foundation that now supports Angel Flight Southeast as the title sponsor of the Dr. Norris Memorial Pilot Awards Gala & Golf Classic.

The gala features a cocktail hour, sit-down dinner and awards presentations from 7 to 10 p.m. on Friday, April 10. The golf tournament begins with registration at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 11 with play expected to run from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Angel Flight Southeast helps people such as Carole Thompson of Key West. When she has to go to her doctor’s appointments, it’s an ordeal. Thompson, who was diagnosed with a chronic pain condition that stemmed from a 2011 injury, must travel to Tampa for specialized treatment.

An hours-long car ride is not feasible, however, neither is the cost and discomfort associated with flying commercial. Thompson relies on Angel Flight Southeast and its pilots, who use their own airplanes, pay for the fuel and give up their time to help people like her get to and from appointments.

More than two dozen volunteer pilots from across the Southeast will be honored for their dedication to the organization. The nominees for the Pilot of the Year awards are vying for the top award. Additional awards will be given to select pilots, including a “Rookie Pilot Award” for pilots who recently joined the organization, a “Transplant Award” for the pilot in the region who has flown the most number of transplant-related flights and “Above and Beyond” for pilots who contribute to fundraising efforts for the nonprofit Angel Flight Southeast.

For information about the event, or to learn more about Angel Flight Southeast, call (352) 326-0761 or visit

Angel Flight Southeast has won the seal of approval from Independent Charities of America.