Founded in 1949 as the nation’s first civilian owned air ambulance, Mercy Flights celebrates it’s 65th anniversary this year. In celebration, the are airing this brief commercial on local stations to thank the community. The founder of Mercy Flights, George Milligan, started the company to transport polio patients from Southern Oregon to Portland prior to the creation of the federal highway system. Patients would not survive the drive alone.
The company was founded as a Non-Profit 501 (c) (3) through a membership program sold by local Boy Scouts. The first plane, a twin engine Cessna, was purchased with donations from the community and currently hangs on display in the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in McMinnville, OR. Another early aircraft from Mercy Flights hangs in the Seattle Air Museum. Mercy Flights is also the only air ambulance that has permission to have a “red cross” on the tail of our aircraft. Since the inception of the company, it has grown to provide 9-1-1 ambulance service and helicopter service to Jackson County, Oregon.