The inspiration for Houston Ground Angels began with a simple phone call. In 2000, Kathy Broussard, a private pilot who volunteered to fly patients to Houston, received a call from one of her clients, Eva Tovar. Tearfully, Eva informed Kathy that she was cancelling her trip to Houston because she could not afford the cost of ground transportation between the airport and MD Anderson. Kathy refused to cancel, flew Eva to Houston and then drove her to her appointment at MD Anderson.
The notion that someone from out of town would not be able to receive the medical treatment they needed in Houston simply because they could not afford the taxi fare between the airport and the Medical Center was too much for Kathy. She determined to make fellow Houstonians aware of this simple, vital need. She placed a small ad in the volunteer section of the local newspaper, and Houston Ground Angels was born. According to early records, volunteers came forward in large numbers and completed approximately 300 missions in what remained of that year.
The present and the future
Since its inception, Houston Ground Angels volunteers have completed in excess of 11,000 missions, and each year the number of requests for transportation missions grows. In 2011, in response to the increasing numbers of requests, the Board of Directors approved the hiring of a small staff to provide logistical coordination for mission requests and to guide the operation of the organization.
Patients continually express their gratitude and deep appreciation for the empathy and concern of volunteers and the mission coordinators.
Houston Ground Angels aims to welcome out of town patients to Houston, give them a sense of security that someone is looking out for them and thereby help relieve some of the stress surrounding their medical treatment and care.