Luke’s Wings was founded in January of 2008 by a group of young people who observed the struggles of our wounded warriors at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Luke’s Wings was named after two people, Luke Shirley (a wounded warrior at Walter Reed who lost an arm and a leg in an IED blast) and Sarah Wingfield, a Redskins Cheerleader Ambassador who was visiting the troops at Walter Reed in May, 2007 when she met Luke…ergo, “Luke’s Wings.”
It was immediately obvious to the Luke’s Wings founders, as well as their social network, that our wounded warriors were the most deserving group of Americans in immediate need of travel tickets and travel planning services. Bottom line: having family on site and by their bedsides during their long and difficult recovery and endless surgeries is mission critical. Having family and loved ones by their bedsides helps pass the time, but also boosts their spirits, and in the most extreme cases, helps eleviate depression and reduce the risk of suicide.
From January 2008 through 2011, Luke’s Wings was run and operated as a strictly volunteer based charity. There were no salaries. There was no office space. Operating expenses were kept to a minimum. Material expenses were limited to fundraising activities and flights for our wounded warriors and their families. Between 2008 and 2012, Luke’s Wings grew and grew. As of 2012, Luke’s Wings has raised more than $1,000,000.00 and has answered the call of more than 600 wounded warrior families, Texas Veteran families, and Veterans in Hospice Care.
Between 2008 and 2012, most of the funding came from fundraising events and individual donations. As the organization grows, so does the strategy. From 2012 forward, Luke’s Wings develops long term relationships with Corporate America.
Luke’s Wings is committed to maintaining a clear and obvious mission: To provide travel tickets and travel planning services. This is what we do… and we are excellent at what we do. We can, and often do, book the next flight in or out. This will always be our mission.