Category Archives: Life Lines

Randall and Rosa Gardner

November 17, 2003: Randall Gardner and his wife Rosa flew in NWALL’s Seneca from the Soo to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota for cancer therapy. Pictured are (L to R) copilot Bob Tice, Randall and Rosa Gardner, and copilot Dennis Whitehead – click image to enlarge

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Kyle Rose and Mother Jenny

February 4, 2004. Copilot John Brooks stands with Kyle Rose and his Mom Jenny after completing a subzero night flight from Drummond Island to Ann Arbor. Kyle liked the NWALL bear we gave him, and Mom said our Seneca provided a comfortably warm cabin.

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Lillian Larson and Ken Ray

April 30, 2004. Double pickup at Rochester for Mayo Clinic patients Lillian Larson and Ken Ray. L to R: Dennis Whitehead, Matt Janousek, Monica Larson, Lillian Larson, Tom Sullivan, Beatrice Ray, Ken Ray. Matt and Dennis flew Lillian and Monica to Marquette in our twin, while Tom flew the Rays to Iron Mountain in his Mooney. (Maybe in a few years we can get the jet in the background and do it all in one trip!)

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Bob Larson Receives Ralph Sheehan Distinguished Service Award

Bob & Ruth Larson with Jim & Rose Olson

Robert “Bob” Larson, founder of Northwoods Airlifeline, recently received the Ralph Sheehan Distinguished Service Award at the District 10 Lions Convention held in Munising. This award is the most prestigious award given by District 10 and was established in 1979 in honor of Past International Director Ralph Sheehan.

When Bob retired from Chicago based Otis Elevator Co., he and his wife, Ruth(a retired registered nurse), moved to the Upper Peninsula to Republic and now resides in Iron Mountain. He knew then he didn’t want to sit around and watch the birds fly. Instead he looked around and saw a need where he could fly and make a difference. He had a dream after he saw a need for helping people. Using his own aircraft and funds he flew patients to where they needed to go for medical help.

In 1989, after many hours of hard work and much publicity his dream came true with the formation of Northwoods Airlifeline.

The Northwoods Airlifeline is a non-profit operation. The organization now has over 10 pilots.

Last year 185 missions were flown from the Upper Peninsula to places like Chicago,

Bob & Ruth Larson with Tom Sullivan and Steve Phillips

Madison, St. Paul, Nashville, Detroit, Saginaw, Ann Arbor, Minneapolis, Cleveland, and Appleton. The pilots volunteer their time and their aircraft to provide free transportation to help people obtain medical assisstance unavailable to them in the UP.
Passengers need to travel for surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, diagnostic procedures, and other treatments.

The Northwoods Airlifeline (NWALL) is one of the most worthy organizations in the Upper Peninsula and is supported entirely by contributions.

Bob had a dream, filled a need, and made a difference in many, many lives. He performed an outstanding humanitarian achievement.

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Flight 2000

Flight #2000: Margaret was very happy to be home. After 20 years living in the southwest and the loss of her husband, she was happy to be home in the Copper Country where all of her family is close.

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Sovia and Jack Lockwood

Sovia and Jack Lockwood at Rochester, Minnesota May 13, 2004. Dennis Whitehead flew them home to Gladstone following Sovia’s surgery at Mayo’s for a rare abdominal tumor. Jack and Dennis found they had a lot in common: both are avid mountain climbers, both have played hockey most of their lives, and both are vegetarians.

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Multiple Leg Angel Flight

Photo from a multiple leg trip we assisted Angel flight for a patient going from Marquette, MI to Texarkana AK. The photo shows our pilot, the patient, and the Angel Flight pilot at the first stop turning the patient over to Angel Flight for leg number 2. The patient was from Marquette and was going to Arkansas to donate stem cells.

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June Mantor

Flight from Rochester, July 24, 2004. We flew June Mantor (right) back home to Escanaba after evaluation for a kidney transplant. She will be returning to Mayo’s soon for specialized surgery. Accompanying June was her daughter-in-law Marsha Bauer. Co-pilot Bruce Rutter is on the left.

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Kathy Sinclair

April 4, 2005. We flew Kathy Sinclair of Florence, Wisconsin from Detroit’s Willow Run Airport to Iron Mountain. Kathy had specialized surgery at the University of Michigan to correct a spinal defect. Copilot Bruce Rutter helped make the flight possible.

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The Curtis J Brackett Memorial Fund

The Curtis J Brackett Memorial Fund donated $7500.00 to Northwoods Airlifeline. Pictured from left to right: Bruce Rutter (NWALL pilot), Dean Lefebvre (NWALL pilot), Teresa Louys (NWALL V.P.) Ruth & Bob Larson (NWALL Founders), Robert Earl Johnson (The Brackett Fund Board of Directors) and Tom Sullivan (NWALL President and pilot)

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