The Power of Planes, Pilots, and Prayer

By May 4, 2017News

Krol_Flight_IMG_3617FUMCFW members Judy-Lynn and Jim Barrow know a good cause when they see it. So when it comes to flying to help others, they are more like planners than travelers. Jim, who is the Director of Operations for ATX Air Services, often pilots the plane.

Thanks to the Perot family, ATX Air Services, and a dedicated team of volunteers, a Boeing 737 aircraft that is usually reserved for luxury flights doubles as a philanthropy plane. On its first mission in 2013, the crew helped take several of the firefighters who were tragically killed in the deadly Arizona wildfires back home for their memorial procession. In 2014 they delivered medical equipment to Liberia during the Ebola outbreak, and in 2015 they delivered goods to Syrian refugees who lacked basic necessities after fleeing their homeland. 

Judy-Lynn and Jim took part in another flight in the summer of 2016, this time for one of Dallas Police Department’s fallen officers. Michael Krol was one of five law enforcement officers killed by a lone gunman during a protest in July. Hundreds gathered for his memorial ceremonies in Dallas, where he had moved to pursue his dream of becoming a police officer. Since Michael was originally from Michigan, the Perot family provided a private flight for his family to accompany his body back home. 

While Jim supported the family up in the air, Judy-Lynn played her part down on the ground. Just as the couple suggested that the Fort Worth Fire Department create prayer bags for the fallen firefighters back in 2013, Judy-Lynn encouraged the Fort Worth Police Department to follow in their footsteps by making similar ones for Michael’s family. Through her help with assembly and delivery, she got to know some of Michael’s fellow police officers and loved ones. Here’s what Judy-Lynn had to say about the power of prayer through this uplifting experience.

Judy_LynnI was truly blessed to assist the Fort Worth Police Department with making prayer bags for the family of Officer Michael Krol. I stopped by the downtown police department and had the pleasure of meeting Officer Johnny Cox. When I showed him pictures of what the Fort Worth Fire Department had done for the Hotshot Team in 2013, he knew his fellow officers would want to take part and make the prayer bags for the Krol family!

On Friday, I received the completed prayer bags from Officer Cox. He shared with me how meaningful it was for them to make the bags. Several officers came and spoke with me, all of whom were thankful to be able to do something. My husband, Jim Barrow, sent me with a Challenge Coin to give to Officer Cox. I was a bit unsure of myself in giving it to him, BUT I did it and he was very grateful (oh and very gracious with my fumbling)! Officer Cox sent me on my way with five Fort Worth Police Department Challenge Coins. He stated, “The five coins represent each of the slain officers.”

On Saturday, when I went to deliver the bags to the flight attendants, I decided to stay and offer help. Scott Bohnenkamp asked if I would like to give Marie Tijerina, Michael Krol’s girlfriend, her Challenge Coin. I was honored to do so. I sat with Marie as she shared her story. It was beautiful and she spoke so eloquently of unprejudiced love . . . love that was shattered, stolen, and ended by hate. We spent time talking about Marie and Mike’s life together and the outpouring of community support. I showed Marie pictures from the Fort Worth Ride of Silence that was held earlier in the day for the five slain officers. She said, “Mike had recently started bike patrol.” 

Krol_Flight_IMG_36202Scott Bohnenkamp gave Mike’s mother, two sisters, and brother the other four Challenge Coins while en route to Officer Krol’s hometown. My understanding was that Mike’s brother had to arm-wrestle his dad for the coin when they got home (since his father was not on the flight). The gift of words and prayers, thoughts and deeds from the Fort Worth Police Department were extremely cherished. The family members and friends all shared the bags so they could each read and see the outpouring of support.

It is my belief that everyone truly wants to reach out and help but that they don’t always know how. Jim and I came up with the prayer bag idea (I am sure others have done it before). When the 19 Hotshot Team members fell in Prescott, Ariz., Jim offered to help transport the fallen firefighters home. Ross Perot Jr. agreed not only to take the firefighters home but to ensure all family members could attend memorials of their loved ones. What a thoughtful gift! Everyone was so touched! Perot’s generosity was the catalyst to allow us to help support the family behind the scenes. We knew so many others wanted them to know that they were loved and prayed for, and that we all wanted to help. That’s when we reached out to the Fort Worth Fire Department. Their outpouring of love and support started what the Fort Worth Police Department has now continued with the prayer bags. 

I am the most blessed person I know. I have a husband who loves to help other people, and he works for a company that loves to help others as well. I cannot thank Ross Perot Jr. and his company enough. Jim has a saying, “Good people gravitate toward one another,” and it is so true. (You can see it in the whole Perot company!) There are so many gifts of healing that they give to our community behind the scenes. Wow, what a wonderful company. I just want to say thank you.

— Judy-Lynn Barrow 

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