Mercy Flights

Mercy Flights

Ruth Ballweg, MPA, PA, Michael E. Burrill Sr., Michael E. Burrill Jr., and Pirkko Terao

Mercy Flights—America’s first not-for-profit air ambulance service—was created in 1949 in direct response to the polio epidemic and medical transportation problems in Southern Oregon and Northern California.

At that time, two small general hospitals provided basic medical care for the community of 17,000 residents. The nearest specialty hospitals for injuries and more complex care were in Eugene (167 miles), Portland (274 miles), and San Francisco (363 miles). Since the Interstate Highway System had not yet been built, these distances were very slowly traveled on two-lane roads.

George Milligan, a young air traffic controller—and a pilot himself—mobilized the community to create Mercy Flights and recruited volunteer pilots and nurses to staff the service. The story of Mercy Flights is a grassroots account of heroism, service, creativity, tenacity, and strong community leadership.

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About The Authors: Ruth Ballweg, MPA, PA, is George Milligan’s daughter and a University of Washington professor emeritus. Michael E. Burrill Sr., formerly on the board of directors for Mercy Flights, and his son, board chair Michael E. Burrill Jr., are community leaders who follow in the path of their father and grandfather, Eugene Burrill, lumberman, early Mercy Flights pilot, and board member. Pirkko Terao is George Milligan’s granddaughter and also serves on the board for Mercy Flights.
SpecificationsArcadia Publishing, 2017
6" x 9" softcover
178 pages, over 175 B&W photos
ISBN: 9781467126670

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