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PHD. MBA. MHS. Type rated on A350, A330, B777, B747-400, B747-200, B757, B767, B737, B727. International Airline Pilot / Author / Speaker. Dedicated to giving the gift of wings to anyone following their dreams. Supporting Aviation Safety through training, writing, and inspiration. Fighting for Aviation Safety and Airline Employee Advocacy. Safety Culture and SMS change agent.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Typhoon Haiyan

Friday's Fabulous Flyer...

Connie Cole

Connie is not a Pilot, 
She is an Angel! 

And yes... angels do have wings...


Amazing how connected the world is. I met a captain (Nancy) via email, who invited me to her home to meet WASP Betty Blake. Someone that Nancy made sure was not left alone. Then a couple weeks ago Nancy was in Seattle for a layover and we grabbed a quick lunch. Typhoon Haiyan was in the news and she told me a friend of hers happened to be living in the Philippines when they typhoon hit.

Nancy connected me to Connie Cole. Connie lives in Davao, Mindanao, a province south of Cebu. She was over there serving the poor and children in different capacities. But what she is doing now is nothing short of amazing. Connie is helping in the aftermath of this typhoon.

She is not there with a church or organization. She supports herself and is helping the victims in this beautiful country, filled with beautiful people, on her own. Sadly, well over 5000 people died in the devastation that Typhoon Haiyan left in its path. 

Connie's Experience: 

"I got up the Monday morning and had to do something. I decided to get a ticket and go to Cebu, many organizations were gathering there to put together food bags, medkits, etc. While I was buying my ticket the lady told me how they are trying to get her brothers and father out of Tacloban and they were flying out of Cebu. 

Pastor Centino

We got around to what I was doing and in a nut shell I told her I  wasn’t sure, but was going to help somehow. She told me about Praise Cathedral Church, Pastor Centino, and what they were doing. She actually took out her phone and called him told him I was flying in the next day. I talked to him got some information and met at the church on Tues morning.


We packed 6- vehicles and had a convoy heading out of Cebu City going north to Bogo and Daan Baytayan. About a 4 hour drive and dark…no lights…we made our first drop in Bogo in a remote area and discrete as worried it might be sought by others.

We continued north to Daan Bantayan. Men, woman and children practically standing in the road holding signs, cups for food, water and being so dark…would not have been hard to hit someone.

We arrived about midnight again, no power and dark EVERYWHERE…We unloaded we all found a place to sleep as now the vehicles were empty. Being woman they insisted I stay the home of the pastor which is next to the church and half the roof missing.

They joked as they compared it to 3 star, 4 and 5 star hotel…this was an ALL STAR HOTEL. The mood was light and lots of laughter. I have to mention that Filipino laugh… and joke and smile. They appreciate and enjoy the simplest things.

I was outside around 5:15a.m. and was in another world. Not being able to see anything the night before I was stunted looking at the destruction, it did not end. I walk around and the people were saying Ma ang Butag (good morning in bisaya) and good morning g to me. I was a distraction for them as most had not seen a tall white blonde before…definitely a foreigner in their village.

I saw 2 year old babies on their 7 or 8 year old brother and sisters back following mom who was carrying 5 gallon water jugs. Fortunately this village had well water that was not contaminated as they did not get the serge like Tacloban. I saw people who were survivors as everyone was at work. Just like it was another day, “business as usual” I thought. Homes were destroyed but they had their families and community. These are the most important to the Filipino people.

The drive back was quiet and for hours all we saw was more and more devastation, and like going up coming back was the same with many people begging for help. What a crappy feeling I had.


A couple weeks ago I asked a Filipino if they celebrate thanksgiving. The answer was “no, not really…every day is thanksgiving around here” that about sums it up.

Praise Cathedral church is on its 3rd wave of bringing in supplies to the northern part of Cebu. They are targeting the smaller remote villages and island that are not getting the media attention but still have the same needs.

There are many many of these areas that were affected all over. Tacloban (Leyte) is a dense area and tragic to see but now that the media has helped with the awareness there, it is time to dig in the pocket and help where the government is not going."


While Thanksgiving gives way to Black Friday, I wonder how many of us can pass a bit of those savings on to those who are fighting for survival. Connie has figured out how to get 100% of our donations to go directly to the children. Anything sent to her church in Colorado, the church will forward to Connie. (501-3-c tax exempt donation/contribution)

Connie tells me the best way to support is with money so supplies can be purchased on location at a discount. Money will go directly to Connie's account and she will withdraw and send it directly to an account Praise Cathedral set up for relief and victims for the typhoon.

Checks can be written to Vineyard Church and in memo put ph/typhoon/cole.

Mail to:
Vineyard of the Rockies 
1201 Riverside Ave, 
Fort Collins, Co 80524.

Adventures of Cap'nAux ~ Eric Auxier's girlfriend is a Filipina and last February they toured this beautiful country. Eric says, "To think it sucked up an spit out in such a devastating calamity...well, it boggles the mind." Eric and his girlfriend created a short video: Haiyan Relief

An amazing world this is... Eric and Nancy work for, and started at, the same airline. One day I hope these two will meet, as they are like minded in their giving hearts.

Enjoy the journey!
XO Karlene

1 comment:

  1. Karlene, thank you for sharing this story now that the media is starting to move on to the next big story. It's going to take them time to rebuild but I know that they will in "Filipino time". We Filipinos are a generally happy-go-lucky bunch anyway as Connie pointed out in the answer to her question that "'every day is thanksgiving around here'”


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