Wings

"Dedicated to Rebuilding Lives Torn Apart By War, Poverty, and Disaster"


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HISTORY

 

The History Of Wings of Valor

No one escapes tragedy without scars, but the difference is how one chooses to live their life, the decision to turn tragedy into a pathway of blessings. Wings of Valor, Inc. was formally founded in 1998, but was born from tragedy in 1961.

Janet Ray Weininger, President and Founder

When Janet Ray Weininger was six-years-old, she lost her father, Thomas "Pete" Ray. Ray, an American pilot for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), had given his life in an attempt to liberate Cuban during the 1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion. Her love of her father, patriotism, and deep code of loyalty led her on an eighteen-year search to find him when the United States Government chose to disavow him. In 1979, she was able to recover his remains from a Havana morgue where he had been kept on exhibition. Her search for the truth led the CIA to publicly acknowledge Thomas "Pete" Ray for his "selfless devotion to duty and dedication to the national interests of the United States. he was awarded the Distinguished Intelligence Cross and The Exceptional Service Medallion.

In 1993, Janet joined the families of two pilots who perished on a return flight to the base in Nicaragua while flying for the United States during the 1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion. She knocked on every door in Washington, repeatedly traveled across the United States, and led several missions into the remote mountains of northern Nicaragua to bring home the Brigade 2506 pilots to their loved ones with honor and dignity. In 1998, the CIA went beyond the call and funded the mission conducted by the United States Army and Janet to recover the remains near the village of San Jose de Bocay in the Department of Jinotega.

When the mission was completed, Janetís heart was broken with grief. She knew that she had to say good-bye to those local people who had lived and fought a war and now were forgotten. Forgotten because of the extreme poverty, the remoteness and the rough terrain, the lack of formal education, the lack of the means to communicate, and the class difference. Siete Mares, a former Nicaraguan resistance commander who had assisted her since 1995, told her to have valor, but now it was time to take the pilotís home on the Blackhawk. His last words were, "You will come back because we need you; God sent you to us."

ÖAnd Janet did return! After Hurricane Mitch devastated Central America Delta Airlines provided an airplane for her to bring aid to this remote area where no other humanitarian organizations are helping even today. When the well-funded humanitarian organizations werenít willing to help in the remote areas, Janet called for the Calvary. The USAF Reserve unit at Homestead answered the call and countless individuals. Volunteers mobilized the youth of the community to participate in Operation Backpack, a school relief project where schools were asked to donate those items that would have been throw away. Other current projects include Operation Tambourine, a music relief project; Operation Team Spirit, a sports relief project; Operation Medic, a medical relief project; and Operation Needle and Thread, a sewing relief project.

Teams of volunteers personally deliver all donations directly into the hands of those in need. Since most of Wings of Valorís work is funded by the sacrifices of others, usually the decision is made to travel twelve to sixteen hours by bus or in open-air trucks. When able, the Organization of American States (OAS), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health (MINSA) have provided assistance and transportation. Once at the destination, teams travel by mule into areas where no roads exist to reach those in need.

Wings of Valor was founded to be a voice for the forgotten and make a difference in their lives. We are dedicated to rebuilding lives torn apart by war, poverty and disaster. Within all of us is the courage to be there for the forgotten if we only make the sacrifice to let it soar.

With Wings of Valor

 

Wings of Valor, Inc.
P.O. Box 56-2801
Miami, Florida 33256-2801
Phone: (305) 255-8892 Fax: (305) 232-9933

© Copyright 1999 - 2003 Wings of Valor