Saturday, September 17, 2005

Farewell and thanks for following Dave's journey

Dave invites you to meet him and his family at the grand opening of his winery's wine tasting room. The details are:

When: Saturday, October 1st, 2-6 pm
Where: 24837 E Milton Road, Linden, CA

For more information or directions, visit his winery's homepage.

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Editor's Note: We hope to offer our readers more of these audio blogs in coming months. If you have an idea or know someone who is about to start an important journey, please contact our Online Editor at We are open to any story idea that is relevant to a larger audience.

What went wrong? Part II

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What went wrong? Part I

Dave offers a personal overview of ways local officials failed during the evacuation of New Orleans, all based on stories he heard while flying rescue missions in the area over the last few weeks.

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Editor's Note: We cannot confirm these stories. They are offered as a personal account by Dave Pechan.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Dave is home, but the work continues

A Baton Rouge church Dave visited is currently accepting donations of clothing and supplies to help evacuees. If you have items to donate please send them to:

Cornerstone Church
Attn: Pat Britt
20810 Plank Road
Zachary, LA 70791
(225) 654-8925
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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

A bumpy ride to San Diego is Dave's last rescue mission

Dave flew from Tennessee to San Diego to bring a rescue worker home before his son goes in for medical testing and a procedure.

Now an exhausted Dave is returning home to San Joaquin county: "I'm beat and I don't want to fly an airplane for a while. I guess I've done my thing."

His family will be celebrating the harvest on October 1.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Dave's angered by what he sees

Dave reaches Tennessee with two elderly evacuees and plans for a trip to San Diego tomorrow.

He also wonders when politicians will be charged with criminal negligence for their actions during the crisis.

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Flying to Tennessee tonight

Dave is taking an elderly couple from Baton Rouge to Tennessee tonight.

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Why do we keep rebuilding on coasts?

The enormity of the disaster hits Dave and he questions California's policy of allowing houses to be built in earthquake- and flood-prone areas.

"The emergency response begins long before the water comes over the bridge, over the levee. The emergency response has to begin by not building," he says.

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Monday, September 12, 2005

See Dave's plane

Dave tells about his state-of-the-art plane, which is the bestselling single-engine plane in the world:

More photos available at

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How you can help: Motorhomes needed!

Dave suggests: If you have a fifth wheel or motorhome, please consider bringing it to the Baton Rouge airport so that Angel Flight volunteers have a place to sleep. Call Angel Flight Central in Addison Texas at (888) 4-AN-ANGEL.

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Difficulties of flying

Dave tells how difficult it is to fly over unfamiliar territory, in a disaster emergency situation, with the President in the air nearby, and hundreds of planes in the air at any given time. Despite the challenges, he feels his work is more valuable than ever.

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Hardships and a happy ending

Dave reunites a family that lived near the levee break in New Orleans and gives the man $200 a friend gave him to help an evacuee. But hotels are fully booked in Houston, so Dave has to make his way to Galveston by taxi.

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Dave meets some celebrities before heading for Florida

Gloria Estefan, Jimmy Smits and Tommy Lasorda are all at the Baton Rouge airport while Dave waits for his passenger to Florida. She doesn't arrive and Dave is told he'll fly to Florida anyhow to get more people bound for Houston this afternoon.

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Sunday, September 11, 2005

Corporations start sending their jets to help

Dave reports that corporate jets have started arriving in Baton Rouge to assist with rescue missions. Their owners have donated hours of flying time worth tens of thousands of dollars. The pilots often have to sleep on the ground because hotels are already at full capacity with evacuees.

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On a lighter note: Gas is cheaper!

Dave encounters lower gas prices than California and loads of lovebugs

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More stories of survivors in Baton Rouge churches

Dave met a pastor who said the people remaining in shelters in Louisiana are those who haven't accepted there's no going home.

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Dave visits churches overwhelmed with evacuees

In this post, Dave is waiting to talk to the minister at a Baptist church where 700 evacuees are waiting for help. He reminds us that San Joaquin and Sacramento could see a similar disaster if the levee system were to collapse in a catastrophe.

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A ballet in the sky

While Dave got some much-needed rest early this morning, his host in Baton Rouge gave us a sense of the situation at the airport. "The skies are always filled with helicopters and airplanes... It is a ballet in the sky," he says, with Angel Flight America alone flying over 1,000 missions in the past week or so.

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Saturday, September 10, 2005

FEMA rules interfered with evacuation attempt?

Dave is frustrated by a story he heard about an aborted attempt by Angel Flight to rescue 80 nursing home patients from Baton Rouge the Friday after the hurricane.

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Editor's Note: We have not been able to confirm this report but will continue to check with sources.

Dave arrives in Louisiana on first mission

Dave recounts a beautiful flight over Colorado on his way to Angel Flight's headquarters in Texas. Once there he receives his first mission: Take a young woman back to Baton Rouge to reunite with her family. He's spending the night in the capitol of Louisiana at the home of another Angel Flight pilot.

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Friday, September 09, 2005

Dave is optimistic again after getting a late call from our local Salvation Army office today. They asked for his help in coordinating their workers' arrival in Texas tomorrow.

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Waiting for clear weather in Colorado

Dave left San Joaquin County early this morning headed for Texas. He only got as far as Colorado but has already found plenty of helping hands on his journey.

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"Homeland Security at its finest."-- Dave

Dave received the following email before leaving for Texas. For him it was another example of the frustrations he has faced in trying to get off the ground and help Katrina's victims.

Dear Resource Registrant,

Thank you for your ongoing participation and support of the Department of Homeland Security efforts to assist individuals and families impacted by Hurricane Katrina. We have received an overwhelming response from members of the private sector, who have registered online and listed thousands of items and resources via our web portal that will provide a much-needed boost to recovery efforts.

Thank you for your patience as field operations evaluate their needs and match them to the inventory you have offered. Many resources have been pulled by various agencies from the National Emergency Resource Registry, but not all utilizations have been recorded appropriately. If your resources have already been used or distributed, please send us an update of your inventory to The National Emergency Resource Registry will then reflect your updated inventory.

Once again, thank you for your support of the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Alfonso Martinez-Fonts, Jr.
Department of Homeland Security
Special Assistant to the Secretary
Private Sector Office

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Local resident to start blogging rescue mission

Dave will soon begin posting audio reports about his trip to the hurricane-devastated area. Please check back often to hear progress reports on his mission to reunite families and carry critical supplies.

About Dave Pechan

Pechan is a pilot with Angel Flight America, a nonprofit group of 6,000 private pilots nationwide who volunteer to help in times of crisis. Mainly that means shuttling children stricken with cancer to and from treatments when their parents cannot afford commercial airliners, but since Angel Flight signed an agreement with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in August, it means helping out in natural disasters and other emergencies.

Pechan plans to assist in the hurricane relief area by carrying supplies to rural towns that still do not have any road access and which have not received any government aid.