Thursday, December 11, 2003

Angel Flight gets local baby home

By Nicole Lozare
Pensacola News Journal

PENSACOLA, Fla. - It began when Shaketha Lige's water broke at her great-aunt's funeral in October.

A Cincinnati resident, she had to stay in Pensacola for two months because Aly was born prematurely. Aly, who was finally released from Sacred Heart's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Friday, topped his Pensacola stay by leaving as dramatically as he arrived.

On Tuesday, Lige, 21, and Aly flew home to Cincinnati courtesy of Angel Flight Southeast, a volunteer organization of pilots who fly medical and humanitarian missions.

"Right now, the joy of going home and having such wonderful people take me home is overriding my anxiety," said Lige, who had never flown in a plane before.

"When Aly was born, I was concentrating on whether or not he was going to make it. When he got better, I suddenly realized, 'How on earth am I going to get home?' '' she said.

That's where Angel Flight came in. Pilots volunteer their time, their planes and the gas.

Aly's father, Oumarou Ousmane, 31, is grateful to the organization.

"Angel Flight should keep doing what they're doing. They're helping a lot of people," he said.

"I have missed them so much," said Ousmane, who had to return to his clothing store in Cincinnati with their 2-year-old daughter.

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