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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh RSS FeedFly For Life: Profiles in Caring

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Name: Jack D. Sluiter

Affiliated Organization: South America Mission and IAMA

Type/model aircraft operated in mission or public benefit flying? Where is most of your flying activity?
I flew Cessna 206s for seven years. One was on wheels and one on floats. SAMAIR operates in both Bolivia and Peru. All of my service flying was over and in the jungles of Peru.

When did you become involved in mission or public benefit flying, and why?
I became involved in mission aviation shortly after college. I was working as an electrical engineer and had my private pilot's license. It was then that I decided I wanted to use my technical and aeronautical skills to serve God by serving people around the world. So, I quit my job as an engineer and went back to school for four more years (one year Bible and missions, one year for my A&P, and two years for flight).

What is the most memorable flight you have ever had, and why?
I was on a routine flight in the floatplane when I was asked to divert for a medical emergency. I docked alongside a very remote village along the headwaters of the Amazon to the sound of weeping and wailing. I was to pick up a young lady (along with her husband) who had been in labor for two days. They feared her death was imminent. With a three-hour flight back to the base, I made preparations for what to do if she died en route.

Instead, she gave birth to a happy and healthy baby boy 3,000 feet above the jungle! The name on the birth certificate is Jack Duane Hempts Remierez. Location of birth was a little difficult to pin down.

What would you like EAA members to know about the type of flying you do?
People ask if flying in the jungle is dangerous. My response is standard: Try walking. I met a group of people at a village where I had just landed. They had just arrived from the same town I had departed from. It took me an hour to get there. It took them a month, traveling by boat, logging truck, and foot. One lady even gave birth in the jungle. That's life and death in the jungle. Mission aviation serves people that are otherwise out of touch, as we fly countless flights to hundreds of villages that are located much deeper in the jungle than this one. It is truly the life link for thousands of precious people.

Why is the Fly for Life program important to EAA AirVenture 2009 attendees?
Talk to any missionary pilot and listen to the stories. How many lives were touched, changed, saved, and otherwise blessed? We are incredibly thankful to the EAA AirVenture and Fly4Life program, as it allows these stories to be told. Some of the most dedicated, committed, and loving people I have ever met are sweating it out every day in places most people can't pronounce, for people with languages we'll never understand. The mission aviation community owes a "ginormous" Thank You to EAA for allowing us this privilege to tell the stories.

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