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,
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.