Flying High, Saving Lives


I’ll admit, this is a story I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. This is a sound slideshow profiling the lead base aviation manager of the ShandsCair program, Mark Womack, at Shands Hospital in Gainesville. Womack oversees all the bases of ShandsCair, as well as the program’s pilots and technicians, and he loves to fly. He spoke with me about what he does, how medevacs work from the point of view of the helicopter pilot, and why he loves his job. He also let me tag along for a flight, and snap a few pictures.

I picked this story because it has intrigued me for a while. Driving down Archer Road, it is easy to spot the ShandsCair helicopter taking off or landing either from the ground or from the top of one of the buildings in the Shands complex. I was curious to learn more about the program, and about those who are involved with it.


  1. This is very nice text, makes me want to watch the video — which is exactly what it should do.

    Remember that the Web is global — or at least, it’s not restricted to Gainesville! So after you say “the lead base aviation manager of the ShandsCair program, Mark Womack,” you should say where it is and that Shands is a hospital. Because believe me, people in another state would have no clue.

    A little writing tip: “technicians…and he loves to fly.” The ellipsis is used in scripts of all kinds, but in other writing, it is used only to mean something was omitted. So for blog posts, Web articles, and anything else that is not a script, AVOID using the ellipsis. Unless you’re pointedly indicating that you left something out of a quotation.

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