Wings of Hope captured 80-year-old Carolyn Hampel’s heart from day one.
Hampel, who spent 50 years in the medical field and beat cancer twice, thought she had seen it all – that is, until her first time volunteering for Wings of Hope more than six years ago. At that time, she spotted a tiny patient being transported into St. Louis for medical care. “I saw this little baby in his pumpkin seat being flown in here for treatment,” she recalls. “I thought I was going to lose it – it was so heartwarming.”
Some 18 Wings of Hope flights later, and Hampel says: “This little guy with casts on his legs was able to have braces put on and walk ... and now he runs.”
Among Hampel’s many projects for the organization through the years was an exterior facelift, complete with gorgeous pollinator gardens and a new monument sign. “What takes place inside Wings of Hope is so wonderful,” she says. “The people who come inside – our patients, our volunteers, our donors and the staff – see the beautiful work taking place. But if people pull up and see 2-foot-high weeds in your front yard, that doesn’t make for very good curb appeal. That’s why I wanted to make Wings of Hope as beautiful outside as is the work being done on the inside.”
Hampel is available to help whenever asked, the nonprofit’s staff says. But if you ask her, she humbly replies: “I’m a little grain of salt – or I should say, pepper – of the whole operation. There are so many here who give so much.”