SOURCE: Los Angeles World Airports

May 21, 2007 16:00 ET

Angel Flight West Flies Iraq War Veteran to Van Nuys Airport for Local Reconstructive Surgery

VAN NUYS, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- May 21, 2007 -- On Tuesday, May 22nd at 9:45 a.m., Angel Flight West will fly Michael Briggs, a wounded and disfigured veteran of the Iraq War, from Cameron Park, CA to Van Nuys Airport, CA. Michael will then receive a surgical reconstruction consultation with Dr. Richard Grossman of the Grossman Burn Center in Sherman Oaks, CA. The volunteer pilot of the flight will be Charlie Finkel, fellow war veteran and burn survivor. Finkel says, "It means quite a bit to me. I was burned and know first hand how it affects people. I was treated by Richard Grossman at the Burn Center, so being part of this [Angel Flight West] mission is extra special."

Michael Briggs was hit by an IED while serving in Iraq in March of 2006, suffering burns over his face, shoulders, back and hands while defusing another IED just four feet away. Previous military-provided skin grafts on his nose and face crack and bleed when exposed to sunlight. The non-profit organization Iraq Star is arranging the consultation and surgery with the hope of allowing Michael Briggs to fulfill his dream of surfing.

Van Nuys Airport Manager Selena Birk says, "By serving as the landing site for this Angel Flight, Van Nuys Airport once again demonstrates the vital role we play in providing facilities for air ambulance, fire, police and search and rescue aircraft in the San Fernando Valley and beyond. We're proud to support Angel Flight and Iraq Star in bringing this brave soldier to the Los Angeles area to receive the medical treatment he needs."

Michael Briggs' "angel flight" will arrive in Van Nuys at approximately 9:45 a.m., where he and Finkel will proceed to the Northwest corner of the airport to Million Air, 16700 Roscoe Blvd., Van Nuys, CA. Please contact Nichole Tyerman nicholet@angeflightwest.org or (310) 390-2958 ext. 112 to arrange photo and interview opportunities.

Angel Flight West

Angel Flight West links both volunteer private pilots and commercial airline partners with people in need whose non-emergency health care problems require that they travel to and from medical facilities throughout the 13 western states, including Alaska and Hawaii. The costs of all flights are donated. There is never a charge for an Angel Flight West mission.

Van Nuys Airport

Located in the heart of the San Fernando Valley, Van Nuys Airport (VNY) ranks as the world's busiest general aviation airport, offering ongoing leadership in general aviation, business and community service as a facility dedicated to noncommercial air travel. More than 100 businesses are located on the 730-acre airport, including six major fixed-base operators and numerous aviation service companies. VNY also provides facilities for fire, police, air ambulance, search and rescue and news media aircraft in the region. In addition, the airport serves as a home base for both routine and emergency services, with specially equipped aircraft providing vital medical transport operations.

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