Yearly Archives: 2011

Angels really do exist

There have been numerous movies and television shows made in the past several years about people coming back to earth as angels with a mission to help some wayward soul.

Well, I have met some real life angels wings included. Only their wings are attached to the airplanes they fly. They call themselves the Northwoods Air Lifeline, first organized in 1990 by Republic resident Bob Larson, they have made over 800 flights, bringing people from the Upper Peninsula to places like the Mayo Clinic and other teaching hospitals throughout Michigan and Wisconsin for medical treatment. And they do it for free.

For my wife and me, it was a real eye opener. I confess that because of 14 years in law enforcement and the deterioration of our society as a whole, I have become cynical, sometimes distrusting of people, especially those I don’t know. Then I met Bob and Ruth Larson, and Bob and Marsha Tice. Mr. Larson organized our flight and Bob and Marsha Tice flew my wife and me back and forth to Rochester, Minn. All of this was done for us, free of charge.

The Tice’s donated time away from their children, their own airplane along with fuel, to fly two people they never met to the Mayo Clinic. Mr. Larson organized transportation from the airport to the hospital and back. Bob and Marsha made sure I was warm and comfortable at all times and even brought lunch for the both of us.

Going through a surgical procedure is difficult on everyone, especially the patient’s family. Having a procedure done out of state only compounds the problems. Commercial air travel with layovers would have taken 6 1/2 hours, almost as long as it takes to drive to Rochester. Bob Larson stepped in and made all the arrangements and took the worry out of getting there and back. The nonstop flight took just over two hours.

I write this letter for two reasons. First, to thank Bob and Ruth Larson and Bob and Marsha Tice for all they did for me and my family. Second, to make people aware of this service and the remarkable people who make it happen.

Thank you, Mr. Larson, and Godspeed to all in your organization. You and your people truly are angels.

James A. Bjorne

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Everyone should know about these wonderful men

Our son was born with spinal defect. He needs extensive treatments and surgeries with pediatric neurosurgeons and many specialists. Being here in Upper Peninsula we are removed from these types of facilities and must travel to Milwaukee and Detroit.

A few weeks ago our son needed his tumor removed and the operation was scheduled at Children’s Hospital of Michigan located in Detroit.

Traveling to Detroit with an infant and then coming back with post-surgical infant in a car seat overwhelmed us.

Then I had heard of a program to help families with travel problems. A man named Bob Larson who runs program called “AirLifeline”. We contacted him and told him about our dilemma. He arranged for a flight out of Ford Airport to Detroit nonstop and when our baby was well enough to return home we would contact him for the flight. For us it was that simple. Bob handled everything for us, plus he’s one of the nicest persons I’ve ever met. Bob does that for families all over the area. If there is an illness in the family and out of town medical care is needed the program Bob has will get you there. He along with a wonderful pilot who gives his time and energy to this program named Bob Wilhelm.

These two guys gave up their time to take my family to Detroit and back. I had never met these two men before and they were that giving care what happened to us. And we are not the only family they have helped out. The week we went to Detroit they also took people to Marshfield and Minneapolis.

The week we came back they also were to make other trips with other families to other major medical facilities.

I could go on and on about these guys because my family is so grateful for their kindness.

I want everyone to know about these wonderful men and program they work with. Bob Larson spends his time helping families like us and also pays for many of the trips himself and being retired this can add up.

I’d like to see some community support so that this charitable program can continue on. Bob was there for us when we needed him and I’d like to see the community there for him. I’d also like to thank Dr. Garrett for the use of plane for both flights. Thank you so much.

Lynn Lusardi
Iron Mountain
(The Daily News – Iron Mountain

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Desiree Schaffer

My name is Desiree Schaffer. I’m 44 years old. I have 3 kids and one grandchild. I stared having problems with my kidneys in 1984. I was taking Advil and shot mi kidneys down. Went into Marquette General and they gave me Lasix and lost about 80 pounds in three days. A couple of years later again my kidneys shut down form muscle relaxants for my back and again they put me in Marshfield Hospital in Marshfield, WI and lost about 80 pounds in three days again.
It has been two years now since they gave me an antibiotic called Cipro and they shut down my kidneys for good. I’ve been on dialysis for almost 2 years. It will be two years in November since I went on the waiting list for a kidney. My transplant was on April 2nd, but having some problems though. My kidney went to sleep the second day because of antirejection drug they gave me. Next week I have another surgery to patch a window in my stomach.

Desiree Schaffer

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Michael Braun

Having spent 160 days in Rochester Mn. at St. Mary’s due to partial paralysis and throat surgery for cancer, we are thrilled to be going home. A car ride woudl have been too much. This Flight was the blessing we needed.



Uncle John will continue to rehabilitate in Sault Ste Marie. Much thanks to all at St. Mary’s. The hard work paid off as Uncle John practically got in the plane himself.

Michael Braun

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Cynthia Dorvinen

My name is Cynthia Dorvinen and I have three children, two of which have Cystic Fibrosis. My oldest child’s name is Stephanie who is 12 years old, she has Cystic Fibrosis, then my 7 years old son, who’s name is Esaias, then my youngest son, Caleb is almost 3 years old and who has Cystic Fibrosis as well.
Being from Upper Peninsula, my children’s doctor, Randell Brown, from University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor is a wonderful pulmonary specialist and helps me and my children to understand and live with this awful disease.

Medical appointments are very stressful and travel back and forth is very exspensive, not icluding the long ride that accompanies the trip. The people who donate their time and planes for people like myself with children who have on-going medical needs has been a wonderful blessing. It allows me to be sure that my children are getting the very best care that can be found, without the worry of “how are we going to get there?”. It’s a relief to know that there are peole that care enough to give others another option that they wouldn’t otherwise have.

Thank you for everything!
Cynthia Dorvinen, Houghton

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Frank Bigelow

My wife Tammy Bigelow was referred out to Mayo Clinic in late May. We were told about AirLifeline out of Iron Mountain. We spoke with Larry Jensen who has helped us with our flight with AirLifeline & different pilots who have been very nice. My wife, after ongoing evaluations, was diagnosed with tachyauxesis arteritis. On June 26 the doctors in Mayo will be doing a surgical biopsy of her swollen lymph nodes to determine whether this is arteritis lymphoma and how to medicate the

My wife and I flew to Rochester on May 3rd. AirLifeline brought my daughter Theresa from Escanaba out to Rochester and me back to Escanaba on June 23rd. My heart goes out to these very fine people for their kindness & services.

May God bless these pilots & everyone involved.


Frank Bigelow

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Jeanne Anderson

Jeanne Anderson who we have flown a number of times to St. Paul and Grand Rapids. She had her daughters with her. Alexis is the younger one sitting next to her mom the older daughter is Jordyn who sat in front.






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Iva Lummakka

I was born and raised in UP but spent a lot of time in the cities. You expect and get services in big cities. I have to say how great it is to be back in the UP where services are greater because it includes a personal and friendly experience. People here are great and I for one am glad to be back and a part of this wonderful service for my friend. My hat off to the up and people in it.

Iva Lummakka

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Dolores Carriere

Very comfortable and pleasant flight and a very nice pilot. A wonderful service.

Dolores Carriere

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Henry and Rita Kramer

Little did we know how helpful Northwoods AirLifeline would be to us in a recent need to transport my husband to the Clearview Nursing Facility in Delafield, Wisconsin. We had read of a number of your flights published in the Daily News of Iron Mountain, Michigan. Then with a few phone calls and the very considerate help we were on our way with perfect weather and such a capable crew. It was a perfect flight and landing. Two days later they returned to Waukesha and the return trip was made. Our appreciation is great for such a service in our area and will always be remembered.

Many thanks.
Henry and Rita Kramer

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