There are so many meaningful reasons for being involved with Esperanza…for me, the most important one has been to help save (or change) a life. Yet there are numerous other reasons as well, and one which quickly comes to mind is the incredible people you meet along the way. Today I am thinking of Mrs. Ina Melen, an airline ambassador with American Airlines who generously volunteers her time transporting children for medical treatment, and over the past few years has become our admired friend.
Recently, I was scheduled to travel to Honduras to bring Noel to Boston for his annual cardiac evaluation. However, life took me on a different journey and I needed to be home with my family for a medical crisis. I quickly thought of Ina and hoped she would have the time to travel to Honduras to accompany Noel to Boston. I contacted Mrs. Margaret Whitehead (director of American Airlines’ Children’s Escort Program), explained our situation and inquired about Ina’s availability. She quickly reassured me that there were many volunteers available, but when she confirmed Ina would be the one to help, I was immediately reassured.
I cannot adequately describe what is involved with Ina’s journey to assist with a child’s trip to the United States. She is up at the crack of dawn to complete a round trip from Boston, MA to Tegucigalpa, Honduras….involving many hours, several connections and trips through Customs. It is never an easy process and there are always complications, yet Ina handles herself with grace and determination. The children in need are her motivation and we are her beneficiaries. We have always appreciated Ina’s service, but now in our time of special need, we realize her gift of “healing hearts.”