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A Cardinal for the Bishop

Tucker Axum III writes about putting his family airplane to work for the Diocese of Alaska:

My dream to become an aircraft owner came true when I purchased a Cessna Cardinal on December 7, 2013. That sleek red-and-white Cardinal created precious memories as loved ones and I soared across the country. My airplane and I introduced a lot of people to general aviation, and even helped a friend overcome her fear of flying. But, as the pace of society increased, my need for speed increased. After multiple coast-to-coast flights, I pondered selling the Cardinal in order to buy another aircraft that would carry more and travel faster for these long cross-country trips.

“She’s the family plane,” my wife said—shocked I’d consider selling our bird. “She’s been so good to us.”

Heidi was right; the Cardinal had been a reliable part of our family. We never feared she would leave us stranded somewhere. So, I debated a few days before finally placing the online ad. Ten prospective buyers quickly reached out to me—everybody from a student pilot to an airline pilot, first aircraft owner to the doctor looking to purchase her seventh or eighth airplane, to the family who wanted to downgrade from their gas-guzzling twin to a more economical airplane. But it was the call from Fairbanks, Alaska, that spoke to my heart.

The caller was Mark Lattime—the bishop for the Episcopal Diocese of Alaska. His flock of believers was scattered all throughout the Last Frontier. As a pastor and pilot, he was seeking a way to minister to their needs with greater efficiency and impact. “It’s summertime right now, which means almost 24-hour daylight. If I had an airplane, I could fly out to the various villages. I could be praying with those in need, and taking communion,” Lattime said over the phone. “I think this Cardinal can be a real blessing to a lot of folks.”

Read on.


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