CAROGA LAKE- Wheelerville Union Free School students and community members managed to raise more than $2,500 for a charity to fly out sick patients to distant hospitals for treatment.
In an assembly Thursday at the school, students spoke with volunteers from Angel Flight, a volunteer group dedicated to providing flights for those who require medical assistance, but can't afford to fly.
Richard Ruberti, Wheelerville superintendent, said when the school started to raise money for the charity, it did so through coin buckets in local stores and donations from students, faculty and local organizations.
Wheelerville Union Free School Superintendent Richard Ruberti and Larry Camerlin, Angel Flight president and a volunteer pilot, speak with students at the school Thursday in Caroga. The school raised $2,700 in donations from the local community to help Angel Flight.
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Over six months, he said, they raised $2,700 for Angel Flight.
Larry Camerlin, the president and a volunteer pilot with Angel Flight, thanked the students for their donations.
"It is amazing, $2,700 to help us, from kids like you, your parents, brothers and sisters, teachers, to get healthcare that may not be in the Johnstown area," Camerlin said.
Over the organization's existence, Camerlin said they have provided more than 60,000 flights for children and adults.
Ruberti said the average Angel Flight costs $300, with the donation funding nine flights for the charity.
Both Ruberti and Camerlin mentioned a May 2013 crash involving an Angel Flight plane.
Frank Amerosa, Evelyn Amerosa, and the pilot, John Campbell, were killed May 24 after their plane veered off course and exploded mid-air in Ephratah.
Frank Amerosa, 64, was a cancer patient who was on an Angel Flight to get treatment in Rome, N.Y. The plane, a Piper PA 34, had taken off from Laurence G. Hanscom Field Airport in Bedford, Mass., and was headed to Griffiss International Airport in Rome. Authorities said the plane appeared to come apart in the air. The crash site was less than a mile from Granny's Ice Cream Shanty. A two-week search eventually located the bodies of the three.
"It was a really sad event and a tragic event, but what it did was bring out the best in our community," Rhuberti said.