The Evangelical humanitarian organisation Samaritan’s Purse has opened a new airlift response centre in Greensboro, North Carolina. It has also bought a second large cargo plane to extend its reach to victims of natural disasters and other tragedies in a timely fashion.
The new facility includes a massive hangar, office space, and the capacity to facilitate a wide range of aircraft maintenance activities. It is staffed by 21 people, including pilots, flight engineers, loadmasters, maintenance personnel, and additional flight support staff. It’s around 160 kilometres from the ministry’s global headquarters in Boone, North Carolina.
Samaritan’s Purse CEO Franklin Graham said the role of the airlift response centre is to carry out maintenance on its heavy duty aircraft. He told The Christian Post it will allow relief workers to respond to a crisis anywhere in the world, within short notice. Reverend Graham said an entire emergency field hospital can be loaded within 12 hours.
“We want to be able to respond immediately. The quicker we can get there the better, because we can save lives with resources like our emergency field hospitals,” He declared at the dedication ceremony. “Everything we have comes from God, and so we give God the glory. We want to thank Him for giving us this facility, so we are here today to dedicate it to Almighty God for the glory of His Son Jesus Christ.”
The facility was built to support the organisation’s two largest cargo aircraft — a Douglas DC-8 and a newly acquired Boeing 757. The 757 freighter plane can carry a maximum load of 30-tonnes of cargo. It completed its first relief mission a month ago, airlifting 24-tonnes of cargo to Maui, Hawaii, where volunteers were helping the wildfire disaster recovery.
Hawaii’s former Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard joined Reverend Graham at the dedication to offer words of gratitude and encouragement for the work of Samaritan’s Purse. She became familiar with its humanitarian efforts following its 2018 response in airlifting 10-tonnes of emergency relief supplies to the island of Kauai following catastrophic flooding.
“I’m so grateful to have the privilege of being able to be here and to celebrate the great work and blessings Samaritan’s Purse brings around the world. I can’t thank Samaritan’s Purse enough, not only for the materials they brought on the plane to Hawaii, but also for the hope they brought with them,” she said.
During the past seven years, Samaritan’s Purse has flown nearly 4000-tonnes of cargo out of Greensboro on 185 flights to 55 countries, including Turkey, Iraq, Haiti, and Sudan. The organisation’s DC-8 has made more than 40 round-trips to Ukraine, carrying an emergency field hospital and 700-tonnes of desperately needed relief supplies.
The aviation arm of Samaritan’s Purse operates 24 aircraft, including two helicopters, which are based in strategic locations. Since 1975, they have been used to transport doctors, relief workers and urgently needed supplies to victims of natural disasters, war, famine, and other emergencies.
Photo: Samaritan’s Purse