Everyone was in high spirits that Monday morning when the bus rolled out of the church parking lot. Jack and Katherine were among 52 senior adults traveling to Branson, Mo., last May for a couple of days of fun at the popular entertainment resort.
About three hours short of Branson on the second day, the bus pulled into a rest stop.
Suddenly, as he was coming down the steps, Jack, who is in his late seventies, began to stumble, drawing the attention of a nurse on board, June Edwards, who determined Jack had suffered a light stroke.
Once in Branson, he was taken to the hospital. Fortunately, physicians determined the stroke had caused no damage. But the question that loomed was, how would Jack get home once he was discharged? Riding on the bus was not an option.
“We tried flights out of Springfield, but he would have to make connections, and the tickets were cost-prohibitive,” Rev. Phillips noted.
It happened that June’s son-in-law, Ron Gibson, is an Angel Flight pilot. She and her husband Herb, also on the trip, contacted Ron, who agreed to fly Jack home.
Though the group had to leave on Thursday to go home, Jack and Katherine were able to extend their stay at the hotel for another day until Ron’s arrival.
He flew them in his Cessna 182, stopping in Nashville where they rendezvoused with the church group whose bus had also stopped over in Nashville, then resumed the trip home.
“It was providential, the way it all worked together,” said Phillips.
A highlight of the flight for Jack, who was himself a pilot and had even built a passenger plane, was having an opportunity to sit in the co-pilot’s seat, making the trip “even more miraculous.
“You’ll never know how thrilled he and Katherine were to get to fly with Angel Flight,” Phillips said. “To get back in a plane was the fulfillment of a dream.”