For Russell Goutierez, helping people was always in his nature. During his time with American Airlines, he had the opportunity to be part of the airline industry’s first CARE Team—a strategic response team implemented to practically help and support individuals involved in any type of plane related emergency. Russell distinctly remembers responding to help the families of the passengers and crew on American Eagle Flight 4184 when it crashed in Roselawn, Indiana in 1994.
Years later, one of the individuals whom he had helped after that flight reached out to him and told him about a nonprofit aviation organization in her city of Indianapolis. This organization was Flight1. After learning about Flight1, Russell knew that the organization was something he wanted to engage with. In fact, from 2012 to 2017, he was an active writer for Flight1. One of his favorite articles he wrote while working for the organization was for Flying Magazine, it highlighted the Flight1 message and mission of helping adolescents facing health challenges rebuild confidence through aviation.
Russell says, “To see the difference the program can make for the adolescents, not only in their lives but also in empowering their dreams, I wanted to help get that message out because I knew when people heard the stories they would care.”
A total highlight for Russell was the 2017 Red Bull Air Race at the Indianapolis Speedway. While at the race, he got to spend time with the directors of Flight1 and some of the program’s courageous flyers. In that moment, he felt so much admiration for Marcus and Sandy Strawhorn for doing something so great and helping other people.
Russell currently works in public health emergency preparedness in Atlanta, Georgia. Since COVID-19, he has been on the frontlines working with logistics to make sure that testing sites in his district have what they need to operate and provide services. He began this on March 18, 2020 and his efforts have continued since then.
When asked what continuously draws Russell to the types of work he does, he said, “Helping people is something I am really passionate about, and if I can be part of that I want to.”
You can find the Flying Magazine story Russell Goutierez wrote about Flight1 here.