When Wayne Maynard ('74) peered out of the cockpit as he flew over the Arctic for the first time, he was met with a "surreal, unspoiled beauty."
"It was like a view of another planet," he says.
Maynard got another glimpse of that incredible scenery July 28, when he completed his second flight to the North Pole to raise funds and awareness for Angel Flight South Central.
Angel Flight South Central is a charity that provides free air transportation for medical needs, such as cancer treatments and surgeries. He first heard about the organization from fellow pilots in 2010 after his brother-in-law, Jack Bolton, was diagnosed with esophageal cancer.
"His treatment center was at MD Anderson in Houston," says Maynard, who studied physics at UNT and currently works as senior vice president of investments at Merrill Lynch. "I suggested Angel Flight South Central to him to assist with transportation."
Maynard -- who earned his private pilot's license in 1967 and later earned a commercial license -- made his first flight to the North Pole in 2010 in honor of Bolton, who passed away that same year.
"I chose the North Pole as a destination because it created a dialogue," Maynard says. "When I opened a conversation with friends and businesses about my proposed flight, the one-word response always started with a W: either 'Wow' or 'Why?'"
Maynard funded 100 percent of both trips' cost, only contacting friends and businesses to raise money for Angel Flight South Central. He ultimately raised more than $80,000 for the charity, and has plans for future trips. Maynard, who is currently chairman of the board of directors for the charity, says more awareness can be raised by word of mouth and outreach to treatment centers and physicians.
"It is very rewarding to make a donation of time and money directly to someone and see the thanks in their eyes and hear it in their voice," Maynard says. "And, hopefully, make a difference to their families as well."