Kids of Courage trip is unlike any other charter
For dozens of chronically sick or disabled young people, our EWR-SAN (San Diego) Kids of Courage charter flight on Aug. 13, turned a medically supervised summer vacation into a smash hit.
The Kids of Courage organization enables travel for young people who might otherwise not be able to experience it while providing a break to parents and caregivers who need to be on duty 24/7.
With United’s assistance, Kids of Courage participants have traveled from EWR to various West Coast destinations over the past seven years, this year landing in San Diego. Preparations for last week’s flight included everything from special accommodations on the plane (wheelchairs, oxygen concentrators, feeding pumps, monitoring equipment, medications and full resuscitation equipment) to dedicated check-in counters to refreshments.
This year’s pilots, Captain Jason Mohrman and First Officer Joe Hayes, decided to make an extra special effort for the kids before the outbound flight, showing up several hours early and armed with hundreds of honorary pilot certificates, kiddie wings, stickers, toys, books, bubbles, lollipops and extra pilot hats for photo ops. They also decorated the jetway with EWR-SAN flight maps, which the kids signed and Kids of Courage planned to frame as keepsakes from the trip. EWR Base Business Manager Mary Keller and EWR intern Eric Severson helped Jason and Joe gather simple items like trading cards that made a big impact.
“Joe and I spent a lot of time at the gate, which we enjoyed just as much or more than the children did,” Jason said. “They were simply amazing and so happy. Our Ramp and Customer Service teams did an outstanding job, and the Inflight team was top notch. We did the wave before we closed the aircraft door, and the whole crew participated. After pushback at EWR, the Port Authority did a full water salute. The kids’ cheering was simply amazing. We could hear them up front.”
At SAN, the San Diego Fire Department, Police Department and SAN co-workers all helped unload the kids. “The fire chief told me they were so moved by helping that they planned to bring more help for the return flight,” Jason said.
“This was an unreal trip,” he continued. “We had terrific support. It was unlike any other charter.”
For more information about Kids of Courage, visit kidsoc.org.