For Immediate Release Contact: Sandy Scott

September 1, 2005 202-606-6724, sscott@cns.gov

Volunteer Pilots Receive Grant to Support

Hurricane Katrina Medical and Search and Rescue Efforts

(Washington D.C.) The Corporation for National and Community Service today announced a $134,000 grant supplement to Mercy Medical Airlift to support volunteer pilots to undertake medical and search and rescue missions in states affected by Hurricane Katrina.

The Corporation grant will support a projected 200 "ambulatory missions," which include all flights into and out of the disaster region for patients, search and rescue teams, incident command teams, outside agency personnel, state and national level personnel, blood and blood products, and small high-priority cargo. It will also cover the costs of a limited number of flights out of the disaster region for patients requiring medical attention in flight.

Mercy Medical Airlift is a nonprofit organization headquartered in Virginia Beach, VA, with a 30 year record of serving people in situations of compelling human need through the provision of charitable air transportation. It operates the Homeland Security Emergency Air Transportation System (HSEATS) which engages volunteer pilots to undertake medical and search and rescue missions in the affected states. HSEATS is implemented primarily through regional Angel Flight organizations.

The HSEATS program was developed under a 2002 grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service. The grant was one of 18 Special Volunteer Program Homeland Security Grants awarded by the agency in the wake of the September 11 terror attacks to engage volunteers in public safety, public health and disaster preparedness and response. The three-year grant enabled Mercy Medical Airlift to add some 4,500 pilots nationwide who are prepared to undertake emergency Angel Flight missions.

The volunteer pilots live all over the United States. They are linked with agreements and operational protocols to support all the major volunteer organizations involved in disaster response. Supported by a well-developed communications network, MMA is coordinating its response with National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (NVOAD), State VOADs, FEMA, and public and private state and local emergency response agencies.

The Corporation for National and Community Service provides opportunities for Americans of all ages and backgrounds to serve their communities and country through three programs: Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America. Together with USA Freedom Corps, the Corporation is working to foster a culture of citizenship, service, and responsibility in America. For more information, visit http://www.nationalservice.gov.