Some people feel a calling on their lives at an early age. That was the case for New Matamoras native Anthony Amos, who knew from the age of 6 that he wanted to become an airplane pilot.
“I took classes at Ohio University and received flight instruction at an airport about 10 miles west of Athens,” recalled Amos, now 25. “It’s been a real blessing.”
Last weekend, Amos, who now pilots medical deliveries out of Baltimore for Columbus-based AirNet Systems, was able to pass some of that blessing on to earthquake-ravaged Haiti.
“We really just wanted to help out somehow, so my friend Brian Thompson and I fired off an e-mail to Roger Griggs, who owns a couple of drug companies in Cincinnati,” Amos said.
Griggs, founder of Xanadyne Pharmaceuticals, also owns a plane.
“I couldn’t believe we were asking to use his plane to deliver supplies to Haiti, but then he said he’d been thinking about the same thing,” Amos said.
Griggs loaned them the small prop jet from Xanadyne and also donated 1,000 filter masks designed to help workers avoid breathing in potentially dangerous bacteria during rescue operations.
“We had the plane, but the trip still took a lot of preparation – we spent an entire day just getting some of our ducks in a row,” Amos said.
Working through Agape Flights in Venice, Fla., a Christian ministry that supports more than 380 missionary families in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, Amos and Thompson arranged to fly a planeful of food, water and filter masks into Haiti’s capital city of Port-Au-Prince.
“Because there were so many flights going in and out of the country, we were only allowed to be on the ground for an hour before taking off again,” Amos said. “We had to be in Port-Au-Prince at noon, plus or minus 20 minutes, or we would be turned away. So I planned the entire flight to be there on time. The air traffic was so congested, and it was kind of hectic, but we arrived around 12:01 p.m. on Sunday.”
Amos said he had never flown to Haiti, and relied heavily on Thompson’s assistance.
Once they arrived in Haitian airspace, Amos and Thompson discovered the Haitian authorities were using an older system to keep track of incoming planes and they had to keep the tower vocally apprised of their coordinates.
“There was a good chance of colliding with other planes,” Amos said.
Preoccupied with the plane and maintaining the flight schedule, he didn’t have a chance to see much destruction from the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that had struck the country on Jan. 12.
“But we could see people lining the streets, waiting on food and medical supplies,” Amos said.
One missionary told them of an orphanage building that had collapsed.
“Thankfully, all of the kids were outside playing soccer when the quake hit,” Amos said.
On the ground in Port-Au-Prince, Amos and Thompson unloaded the plane, and then transported three missionaries back to Florida.
“I had a friend, Doug Brake, who was in Haiti with an Apostolic Christian Church group,” Amos said. “He was helping put roofs on Haitian houses, and I hoped to be able to get him out. We were in and out, and didn’t have enough time, but we were able to get those three missionaries out.”
Back in Baltimore on Thursday, Amos is already planning another trip to Haiti.
“I’ve reserved some vacation time and wanted to go back down next week and hopefully fly for Agape Flights out of the Dominican Republic,” he said. “I’ve been hoping and praying to go, but if not, I’ll go back to work and go back to Haiti another time, as long as there’s a need.”
Anthony’s mother, Tawnya Amos, of New Matamoras, said her son just enjoys helping others.
“He’s pretty modest, and doesn’t like a lot of attention,” she said. “But we’re really happy that he can do this. It’s a funny thing about Anthony, he’s wanted to be a pilot ever since he was 6 or 7, and he never changed his mind about that.
“I really feel that God has called him to do this,” Tawnya Amos added. “He told me once that, yes, what he does can be dangerous, ‘but I feel God is protecting me, and His calling is greater than the danger.'”
Tawnya and Randy Amos have two other children, Krista, 23, and Kayla, 20.
Source: MARIETTA TIMES