Editor’s Note: We regret to inform you that Delia Greer passed away on Monday, July 23, 2012. Because of our deadline to get the paper to the printer, it was too late to pull the story that appeared in Friday’s July 27 issue.
Amid a remote jungle in South America, Jean Murry and Delia Greer stepped off a small plane to find dozens of impoverished tribal groups awaiting medical care.
This has become a familiar scenario for both women since they joined Wings of Hope in 1990. Through the St. Louis-based humanitarian organization, Murry, a pilot of more than 30 years, and Greer, a flight nurse, have helped thousands of people in need through dozens of medical missions in Central and South America. Their dedication was recognized recently with the international Achievement of Humanitarian Efforts award, presented by the 99’s—a global women’s aviation group founded by Amelia Earhart.
Murry first served as a pilot in the Civil Air Patrol during the 1940s, while Greer was a Certified Airborne Flight Nurse and flight student in the U.S. Air Force. Once the aviators reached retirement, they decided to combine their love of flying and helping others through volunteering at Wings of Hope. During Wings’ international medical missions, Murry assists doctors in a medical clinic set up by volunteers in the tribes’ villages. “People would walk to the villages from miles and miles away to be seen by the doctors and treated for various illnesses,” she says. In addition, Murry handed out medicine and personal care items, and even gave toys to children. “Those people have nothing but the clothes on their backs. We see how fortunate we are to have all the opportunities and luxuries we have back home.” For Greer, the medical missions meant serving as a nurse to countless patients—often babies who she says were in desperate need of medical attention.
In addition to serving on international medical missions, Murry and Greer also act as medical aids on national flights for Wings of Hope. The donated flights make it possible for families in need to send their children to Shriners Hospitals for Children—St. Louis for treatment of orthopedic conditions, or to other area health care centers for a second opinion about medical diagnoses.
Murry and Greer agree the blessing of good health through the years has allowed them to remain committed to the Nobel Peace Prize-nominated organization. “I love what I do, so I’ll be doing it as long as I can,” Greer says. “I’m 77 years old, so I’ll probably be flying with patients into my 80s.”