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Pilots and pilot coordinator

“Most of the families, in one way or another, express how they feel closer to their loved one as we float and dance through the sky together. Usually they are eager to show me what they have written on the feather and the significance of the drawings or words. The in-flight feather release seems to be a releasing of some of the grief, and the forever joining of spirits. All of the pilots express how honored they are that the families wish to share a part of their grief/growth journey with them. I am equally honored and grateful to be a part of this extraordinary experience.”

Jack Lewis, Founder of Dreams and Wings, co-founder of White Feather Flights,volunteer pilot

“I have been involved with the White Feather Flights for at least three years and have found it to be extremely rewarding. The participants have been most appreciative, and the organizers do a wonderful job. I would recommend this program to any pilot who is interested in participating in a community service project.”

Patrick Keenan, volunteer pilot

“I am proud and honored to be a pilot for White Feather Flights. To be able to bring some closure to the grief being suffered by those who have lost a loved one is humbling. I thank God that I've had this experience.”

Dick Boland, volunteer pilot


“Thank you so much to you, your staff, and all of the wonderful volunteers who helped out with White Feather. My mother passed away over a year ago, so I wasn’t looking so much for comfort as an exciting ride in a plane. But everyone who helped was so friendly and wonderful. And the trip was better than I could have imagined. And I felt my mother’s presence in the clouds, but also from all the attention. I know my mother was with me the whole time.”


 “I got to fly over our house and let the feather go.  I felt like I was giving it to him.” 

Participant (teen)

“This is exactly what I needed; an adventure!”

Mecca, 17 years old

“This is the best thing I have done since my mom and sister passed.  I will never forget this.”


Grief support staff and volunteers

“White Feather serves as a memorable healing ritual for participating members to honor their loved one.  Through both the purposeful programming and the gift of flight, each family and friend is provided a personal period of intimacy and space to reflect and remember.   Our staff and organization value the gift of time, talent and resources donated to us through a program that touches so uniquely and deeply the lives of all that participate.” 

Wendy J. Wigger, president of Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids 

“The White Feather Flight is one of the most moving and unique ways to memorialize someone who has died. There is an ethereal quality that people describe feeling as they release a feather up in the clouds with carefully chosen words and messages on the feather. There are usually many tears to go around, yet so uplifting.”

Donna Murphy, UMCCC

“The ceremony of decorating and releasing a white feather from the airplane window is transformative.  This is the most meaningful event that I organize and participate in at Gilda’s Club.” 

Dorace Van Meurs, LMSW, White Feather Event Coordinator, Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids

 “Flying with a child as they release their feather into the heavens offers me the ability to connect with that youth in a way that would not have been possible before. It is both humbling and a great honor to be present during such a significant moment on his grief journey.”

Jacqueline Scherer, LCSW, Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids

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The purpose of White Feather Flights to honor the journey of grieving children, families and individuals and to help them remember their loved one who passed. We’ve created White Feather Flights, and the materials that support the program, so it can be implemented in any community.

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