Pilots Who Have Been Helped by P4P

When you donate to the Pilots for Pilots (P4P) Fund, you're helping your fellow ALPA members and their families. Below are stories from just some of the pilots who have received grants from P4P in the past. Click here to donate today. Remember, we're all just a disaster away from needing P4P.

F/O Tanya Bulleigh, United

I just wanted to express our appreciation of the Pilots for Pilots fund. My husband I live in Houston, and I am a first officer with United Airlines. I started 2020 as a new hire in the Airbus, and COVID-19 definitely threw some unexpected challenges at all of us.

While all this was going on, Houston was hit by a huge freeze in February. We had no power and no water for over three days. We stayed warm by nailing blankets to the ceiling in our central formal living room, which has a gas fireplace, to keep the minimal warm air in that one room. Our house had water line breaks in eight different spots and we couldn’t fix the plumbing ourselves because all hardware stores were completely sold out of the products necessary.

P4P helped us cover some of the costs of these plumbing repairs. We are so appreciative and grateful for the assistance and for the incredible generosity and support of other pilots. This was such a ray of sunshine for us in such a negative dark year. It is so rare and uplifting to find people who donate their time and money to help others. Again, thank you so very much!

F/O Jay Tarter, PSA

When record-setting flood waters hit southeast Kansas and southwest Missouri our family was greatly impacted, as the home we were living in became flooded. We lost some furniture but were otherwise unharmed. We had to have some damage corrected and that is when we found black mold. Due to this contamination and contractor work we were unable to live in our home for nearly two months.

I reached out to our MEC chairman Travis Ricks, who directed me to the ALPA P4P site. I easily used the site to apply for aid for my family. Within a few days I received a call from an ALPA rep and was told we qualified for a grant. I was surprised that we would get anything. We received the money directly into our account in a week.

Without this assistance, we would not have had a place to stay or be able to get into a new home. Our stress level has decreased tremendously and we are very thankful for all the help and support ALPA has provided for our family. The generosity of pilots to donate to this program helps families, not just fellow pilots.

Capt. Naseem Ahmed, United

My home was completely destroyed by a California brush fire, with all contents therein—well over $100,000. I learned about Pilots for Pilots in the LAX Flight Office, applied, and received a grant less a month after the fire.

The P4P grant helped me tremendously in purchasing basic living goods such as clothes, food, and toiletries. Insurance payouts can take months to receive, so this money was needed in a timely manner.

Thank you to everyone who has donated in the past. If you’re thinking about donating, know that you will be helping pilots who are at one of the lowest points in their life. Until you actually need this type of assistance you have no idea how beneficial it is.

F/O Al Solter, Delta

We were flooded in Hurricane Florence in September 2018. Pilots for Pilots provided funds that helped us with immediate expenses as we were gutting our house. This provided a nice cushion and a needed mental boost as we were focused on other things the first few weeks after the flooding.

This is a great program that every APLA pilot should consider donating to. Donations go directly to fellow pilots in time of need. Thank you, on behalf of myself and my family.

F/O Neekowee Clearwater, Alaska

Our home and land in Hawaii were covered with lava. We still had to pay our mortgage and rent a place while we looked to buy a new home. A coworker told me about Pilots for Pilots, and I received a grant very quickly after I applied.

I was able to put the grant toward rent, which was very helpful at an extremely stressful time for us. I’m so grateful that this is available to our pilots. I wish the fund never had to be used. But it is such a relief for those of us who have used it. Thank you!

F/O Jason Fullmer, FedEx Express

My family’s house was severely damaged in the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in 2018 outside Anchorage. The entire house’s contents were thrown to the floor, large cracks were in every single room, and the foundation of the house sank, causing deep structural issues.

Within hours of the earthquake hitting, I received an e-mail from ALPA advertising the Pilots for Pilots program. I was on a trip when the earthquake hit, and before my company could even get me home on the first flight, ALPA was already working to provide assistance funds.

I received a grant within days to help offset immediate needs. We knew my insurance would eventually cover the major repair work, but P4P allowed us to immediately buy all of the small purchases you need in an emergency with a destroyed house: paper towels, cleaning supplies, multiple new brooms to sweep up glass, etc. Even something seemingly as small as offsetting the cost to order takeout and pizza for an entire week, because that is how long it took to put our kitchen back together, provided us with peace of mind.

P4P is an excellent example of pilots helping pilots when they need it most. Thanks to my fellow pilots who have donated to P4P, my family and I had one less thing to worry about in the immediate aftermath of our house and life being turned upside down.

Capt. Nathan Caron, Trans States

We evacuated Port St. Lucie, FL in October 2016 for what was supposed to be a direct hit from Category 5 Hurricane Matthew. There was an official evacuation order for the immediate coast of that area, and while we lived slightly inland the governor was urging all residents to voluntarily evacuate, so we did. I only had about three days to prepare, including shuttering my house, stocking up on food, water, and supplies, and evacuating my family. I evacuated myself, my then fiancée (wife now), and three children to Atlanta by car and stayed with family there for a few days.

Although we didn't have any living expense while evacuated, or damage (the storm turned at the last minute fortunately), I did have to be removed from flying and had to spend a good deal of money for the evacuation. Due to the trip removal and expenses, we did not have enough money for a few bills that were coming due. Although P4P does not cover flight pay loss, it was able to reimburse me for the money that we had to spend to evacuate. We were able to pay our bills and a weight was lifted off of us. Many thanks to ALPA and the P4P program!

Capt. Nick Esposito, United

On Oct. 9, 2016, a strong and unpredictable hurricane named Matthew ravaged the southeast coast of the United States, sparing few along the immediate South Carolina coast. Matthew’s eyewall came right across Hilton Head Island, S.C., and my house was directly hit by 100-knot-plus winds, inundating rains, and an 8- to 12-foot storm surge, which caused widespread damage to the area. Flooding, significant tree loss, and driving rain significantly damaged our house and disrupted our lives for more than six months.

While assessing the damage after a 10-day evacuation, I received a phone call from F/O George Riley with United’s Council 11 asking if there was anything he or ALPA could do to help in the matter. He mentioned the Pilots for Pilots (P4P) grant that was available and stated if I needed it, he and ALPA were there to help. After days of clean up and recovery, it became painfully obvious that the outflow of money was becoming significant and that I should use the resources available to me. The grant process was fast and easy and the award was very timely and beneficial.

My wife and I say “thank you” to all the pilots who have contributed to this fund. It alleviated some major stress in a time of need. It is a great program—one I thought I would never use but one that I will contribute to for the rest of my career.

F/O Jay Belmear, Alaska

The 2018 Alaska earthquake damaged our home significantly. We had over $100,000 in damage and no earthquake insurance. We had drywall damage, tile damage, damage to our fireplace, and damaged windows. We had significant cracks in our concrete slab, support walls, and driveway. Our front and rear decks were sagging significantly, and the retaining walls protecting our driveway began to fail.

I found out about Pilots for Pilots from an ALPA e-mail and received a grant within a week of applying. Combined with a FEMA grant, I was able to hire a contractor to begin interior repairs while awaiting the slow, tedious approval process for a government disaster loan. It provided some hope and encouragement during a very stressful time.

I can’t tell you how much the grant meant to me and my family. If every member can spare to donate a little, the fund will have more than enough to help its members in need. You never know when you’ll be the one in need . . . I assure you I never expected to need that kind of assistance. Thanks again for helping me and my family! This is an amazing program!

F/O Chris Ellsworth, Mesa Air Group

Without ALPA and Pilots for Pilots, I wouldn't have a roof on my house right now. Last year my wife and I watched Hurricane Matthew all night, hoping it wouldn’t wipe us out. While we only got a glancing blow, it was still enough. Matthew sent trees into houses, carports down the street, roofs into neighbors’ houses—and in my case half my roof was removed and deposited somewhere down the street.

My wife and I, both in our 50s, couldn't afford to wait on a roofing company and couldn't pay them what they were asking anyhow. But P4P gave us enough to buy the supplies we needed and we got up there and worked away. It took us over a week but we have a new roof and it doesn't leak a drop. Meanwhile, some people are still getting repairs done. We can't thank you enough, we would have been in a really bad mess without P4P and ALPA.

Capt. David Miles, United

My family was forced to evacuate our home during the California wildfires in 2018. Though the fire stayed across the street and did not reach our home, the damage from smoke and ash was considerable. I returned to the house before the evacuation order was lifted in order to check on things, but my family remained in a hotel outside the area for a few days.

I received an e-mail from ALPA regarding the fire and the potential for Pilots for Pilots grants. I received a call that my request was being reviewed a couple of days after submitting it and was notified that it was approved within the week. The check arrived less than a week later. The entire process was very easy and the response very timely.

The financial support was one thing, but the more intangible benefit was the ease of the process and the support I felt from my fellow pilots. It speaks directly to the fraternity that is ALPA. We as a pilot group take care of one another during tough times (furlough, a family loss, disaster recovery, medical issues, etc.). ALPA is more than just a union; it is a family.

I’d like to thank those who have donated and to encourage others to do so. Asking your fellow pilots for aid in a time of need is far easier than asking strangers!

Capt. John Valine, Delta

We live north of Tampa, Florida, in a canal community on the Gulf of Mexico. On Sept. 2, 2016, Hurricane Hermine blew through our area, and the storm surge pushed four to six inches of salt water throughout our home. The damage was devastating. Every possession we owned that was within five inches of the floor was now damaged by saltwater. While flood insurance went a long way to assist us in rebuilding our home and helping us to replace our furniture, there is a great deal of expense associated with a flood that insurance does not cover. That includes things such as immediate hotel and food expenses, movers to pack up and move every piece of furniture and possession that we owned and storing everything during the rebuild of our home, moving into and living in a furnished month-to-month rental condo while our home was being rebuilt; the list of uncovered expenses goes on and on. The uncovered out of pocket expenses associated with this experience was well over $25,000.

To say that we were overwhelmed emotionally, mentally, and financially is an understatement. We were very grateful for the assistance we received from ALPA and the P4P program during a most difficult time in our lives.

Capt. Morgan VanZile, Endeavor Air

I was at a conference in Tennessee and my mom was at home watching our 19-month-old when a massive storm hit Monroe. We received nearly 27 inches of rain during a six-day period, and my mom was sending me pictures throughout of pools of water collecting in my backyard and in the street. We arranged for my mom and daughter to stay with a neighbor, and it’s a good thing we did. The following morning we received a hysterical call from the neighbor—the nearby Ouachita River had crested four feet above flood stage and water had worked its way into every nook and cranny of our house. My husband and I hurried home to inspect the damage. While wading through chest-deep water, my husband caught a white perch in a hallway closet with his hands.

We didn’t live in a flood zone so we hadn’t purchased flood insurance, and our homeowners insurance wouldn’t cover anything. We applied for disaster assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency but nearly 5,000 homes in the area had been damaged so we were looking at a long wait before an inspection. A fellow pilot at Endeavor Air recommended that I contact P4P, and shortly after sending in my application I got word that a grant was being issued. It’s been extremely stressful. Every dollar that doesn’t include interest or eventually require repayment will make this process a little less difficult. Having this kind of support makes all the difference in the world.

Captain David Beckler, Delta

In 2016, Hurricane Matthew flooded and pretty much destroyed our house. We eventually sold the house “as is” because the damage was so extensive and the costs to rebuild were simply prohibitive. Even with the insurance funds, we weren’t made whole to say the least. We had to rent a place to live on very short notice that would accommodate a family of four, plus cats, dogs, etc.

Our expenses were significantly increased because even though we had a house that was uninhabitable, the mortgage was still due, and now we had a high rent to pay as well. The Pilots for Pilots assistance was invaluable and came at a crucial, stressful time. We were very fortunate to have that resource!

Thank you ALPA and to the folks who manage the fund!

Capt. John McKay, Alaska

On June 28, 2015, the Sleepy Hollow fire started a few miles from our home in Wenatchee, Wash. I arrived home at 5:00 p.m. and by 6:00 p.m. the fire crested the hill behind our home, leaving me just enough time to grab my two kids and our two cats. 

After the fire destroyed our house, we were left with nothing. As my family dealt with the enormity of losing everything, the immediate financial assistance that ALPA's P4P fund provided allowed me to purchase some essentials for my family.

Fellow ALPA members, I encourage you to support this worthwhile effort to raise funds to support our fellow pilots in their time of need.

BEFORE: Before
AFTER: After

Captain Sandy Walker, United

And there we were [after Hurricane Harvey]!

Pilots for Pilots will get my monthly donation until I retire . . . I know what the grant meant to me and my family, and we were fortunate to be able to recover family photos and some memorabilia.

Thank you, Pilots for Pilots!