‘Love is in the Air’

Wings of Rescue volunteers load up the precious cargo into a plane adorned with heart stickers before leaving Memphis. PHOTOS BY BERRY AVIATION.

A worthwhile journey
We like having the opportunity to help and make the world better.

This most recent Valentine’s Day had one San Marcos company showing their love in an unconventional way. Berry Aviation, Inc. (BAI), a company whose headquarters are located in the San Marcos Regional Airport, worked with Wings of Rescue, a self-described “donation-based charity, flying large numbers of at-risk healthy pets long distances from high intake shelters to safety at no-kill shelters throughout the United States and Canada,” for their “Love is in the Air” project.

According to a statement from BAI, the “Love is in the Air” project aimed to “airlift more than 400 at-risk shelter pets to freedom on Valentine’s Day,” only a small portion of their 2017 goal of rescuing 12,000 pets. In an effort to contribute, BAI took part in transporting 256 dogs and cats from high-intake, kill-shelters in Memphis, Tennessee to no-kill shelters with high vacancy rates in Spokane and Everett, Washington.

Champ, a Memphis native, emotionally prepares himself for the cold weather in the Pacific Northwest. 

According to Dakota Peterson, the director of special projects at BAI, the goal of the transport is to move the animals from a place with a surplus of unadopted animals to a destination with a surplus of people looking to adopt a furry friend. 

“These animals came from Memphis and the surrounding area and ended up at shelters there,” Peterson said. “Wings of Rescue finds dogs and cats from areas with too many strays and too few people adopting, dogs and cats that would be otherwise killed, and bring them to places with a shortage of stray animals, if you will, and a surplus of people willing to adopt them.” 

Different sized animal crates are sorted and arranged. 

Since its creation in 2009, Wings of Rescue has flown more than 23,000 pets to safety. Peterson cited the organization’s growth as the reason they chose to work with BAI, combined with BAI’s low-cost freight options. In the spirit of love, BAI offered their aviation services to Wings of Rescue at a heavily-discounted rate. 

“This is a revenue flight for us, it’s completely supported by donations toward Wings of Rescue, but we gave them a substantial discount,” Peterson clarified. “We’re a low-cost operator. We gave Wings of Rescue a solution in terms of cargo size, in terms of travel time and in terms of pricing. It made sense for us to participate— we do a lot of unconventional aviation transporting. We do aeromedical evacuation for U.S. troops. We move human organs. This just fit into our profile as work that we could do.”

And if they could do it, why not? According to Peterson, this kind of effort is representative of BAI’s mission.

“We like having the opportunity to help and make the world better,” Peterson said. “It’s rewarding to be part of the solution in these projects. One of Berry Aviation’s missions is to make an impact on the world through aviation, and when we have the opportunity to do things like this— it really gives us a feeling of purpose.”

San Marcos Daily Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666