Maj. Albert Lehmann II, facilities engineer for the 807th Medical Command gives a thumbs up before departing on his first Angel Flight. Angel Flight West is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization that arranges free, non-emergency air transportation within the 13 Western states for children and adults with serious medical conditions. Courtesy photo
For Army Maj. Albert Lehmann II, facilities engineer for the 807th Medical Command, the love of flying came at an early age. At age 5, Lehmann said he would travel with his father in his Beechcraft Bonanza airplane. At 12, he began private lessons with the dream of one day earning his license.
Lehmann said as he grew and time passed, his love for flying never faded. After returning from Afghanistan in 2012, he and his wife Martha looked to purchase their first plane.
“It took a little convincing,” he said. “I bothered her a bit, but she was kind enough to give in.” Lehmann said he earned his license after a little more flight training, and they bought a 1969 Cessna Turbo 210 Centurion.
“I believe everyone should pursue their dreams,” Martha said. “Flying allows Albert to concentrate on his personal goals, and when he flies he is in control of his destiny.”
Finding a Mission
Then, after some flight time and additional training to increase his flying skills, Lehmann began to feel like something was missing.
“Flying for fun is exciting, and serving in the military is rewarding, but I felt like I was missing a sense of mission,” he said. “While visiting an airport last year, I found a flier about Angel Flights and quickly realized that this is the purpose I was searching for. I could use my love of flying to help others in need.”
Angel Flight West is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization that arranges free, non-emergency air transportation within the 13 Western states for children and adults with serious medical conditions.
AFW matches up volunteer pilots to people in need, enabling them to receive medical treatment and other vital care that might otherwise be inaccessible because of financial, medical, or geographic limitations. The costs of all flights are donated. There is never a charge for an Angel Flight West mission.
In addition to medical flights, they arrange transportation for other humanitarian purposes, such as individuals and families escaping domestic violence; injured military personnel taking part in therapeutic programs offered by veterans’ organizations; and prospective parents hoping to adopt a child. Because not all healing takes place in the hospital, Angel Flight West also serves as the “official airline” for a number of children’s special needs camps attended by youngsters and teens.
Lehmann said he spent much of 2014 working toward his goal of achieving enough flight hours to be an Angel Flight command pilot. After he completed the requirement, he began flying Angel Flights earlier this year.
“What could be better than to do what I truly love and help people while doing it?” he said. “Angel Flight West gives me the opportunity to volunteer and help make a difference in the world while being able exercise my passion of flight.”
Chasing his dream of being a pilot has opened up new opportunities for the Lehmann family.
“I fly with him wherever he goes and we have adventures,” Martha said. “Albert has always taken care of his soldiers, and Angel Flights allows an extension of his caring. It’s been our pleasure to help those in need.”