St. George pilot dedicated to saving lives after COVID-19 kills his best friend

ST. GEORGE, Utah (ABC4) – Nathan Parnham, a young lightweight but experienced pilot from St. George has recently taken steps to create change in the world of medical transportation.

The 26-year-old, who has been flying for four years, is on a mission to use his Cessna 310 plane to airlift people in critical condition in partnership with Angel Flight West, an organization that flies people in financial difficulty, physical and emotional charges traveling across the country as they battle illness or disease.

The organization recognizes that what seems normal to the average person may be inaccessible to others, especially air travel for necessary medical appointments.

There is only one thing between Parnham and his dream: the financial aspect. Recently, the pilot set up a GoFundMe in hopes of raising enough money to do the maintenance work needed to get the plane airworthy. Parnham’s goal is to raise a total of $5,000. Any amount left over after the aircraft is refurbished will be used to fly Angel flights.

Unfortunately, Parnham is all too familiar with a patient’s struggle to achieve physical health. The pilot stayed by his mother’s side throughout her battle with breast cancer. Parnham recalls driving her to the hospital for treatment, explaining the heartache he would feel watching her struggle on the way home with a bag in her hand, and then again when she lay in bed for the next two days. Today, Parnham’s mother is healthy and has been in remission for seven years.

The young man’s experience of taking care of his mother is only one factor that motivated him to carry out this project. Parnham says the recent death of his best friend is what really inspired him to make a change.

Both Parnham and his best friend were diagnosed with coronavirus months ago. His friend suffered such severe symptoms that he had to spend his 32nd birthday in intensive care and finally succumbed to his illness three months ago.

Since recovering from the virus, Parnham has missed his best friend dearly while wanting to implement a positive outlet in his life. Angel Flight was his calling.

The pilot remembers his first airplane flight being a Young Eagle flight offered by the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA). “Someone else’s generosity got me to where I am now,” he says. Regarding his partnership with Angel Flight, it’s amazing to see this generosity come full circle.

As Parham sets out to help others, the dedication he has for his project remains steady.

“If we can save even one life, every penny donated to Angel Flight is worth it in my opinion.”

About Kristina McManus

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