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Wayne Independent - Honesdale, PA
  • Donation drive to take flight

  • Starting today, patrons will be treated to a cup of hospitality from Laurel's Hometown Cafe.
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    - Starting today, patrons will be treated to a cup of hospitality from Laurel's Hometown Cafe.
    Owner Laurel Gardner said she was inspired to pay good deeds forward after seeing a story about the death of 18-year-old Alyssa Josephine O’Neill from Erie, Penn.
    O'Neill passed away last month after suffering an epileptic seizure. The night before her seizure, O'Neill asked her mother if they could get their first pumpkin spice lattes of the season.
    Alyssa passed away before her coffee date with her mother.
    To celebrate her last wish, Sarah and Jason O'Neill went to their local Starbucks and bought pumpkin spice lattes for 40 strangers. On each of those cups, they wrote A.J.O., their daughter's initials, on it. They also encouraged everyone to keep spreading the good deed.
    Since that first latte, good deeds have spread globally, with many people participating in honoring O'Neill's memory.
    Gardner is doing her part to keep the memory of O'Neill alive, while spreading good will.
    "I wanted to do something to give back," she said.
    On the second Friday of every month, patrons at Laurel's Hometown Cafe will be treated to one free soda or coffee with their order.
    Gardner is then going to take what those drinks would have cost and donate the total to a charity. The first recipient of this is Archangel Airborne.
    "I want to spread happiness and let people be happy," she said.
    Gardner is also donating her services to an event being held tomorrow by the organization.
    Archangel Airborne CEO Stuart Hirsch says the event, being held Saturday from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. at the Cherry Ridge Airport, is all about family fun and getting the word out about the organization.
    Started in 2010, Archangel Airborne has assisted many people in times of need.
    "Since the earthquake in Haiti in 2010, we keep going back," to help those still affected. The organization also provided help to citizens in need after Hurricane Sandy.
    The organization is also dedicated to "transformative service globally in areas of great need with populations at risk," he said. They provide services including disaster relief, medical care, community-based health and EMS training, advisory services and logistical support.
    One focus of the trips is to take populations at risk from poverty and disaster, and train them with skills.
    "We provide people with things like basic first aid training," he said.
    What has helped made Archangel Airborne a success is their incorporation of military discipline into their humanitarian efforts.
    "We have a team of military veterans, highly-skilled professional along with volunteers," Hirsch said.
    Page 2 of 2 - The event Saturday will have a mission aircraft, a flight simulator, aircraft flights with our aviators, a fire department 'smoke house,' EMS ambulance, Helicopter Medevac Team, classic airplanes and cars. Food will also be available.
    Those in attendance will have the chance to enter to win a classic Fender Stratocaster, gift baskets and gift certificates.
    To learn more about Archangel Airborne, visit www.archangelairborne.org or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Archangel.Airborne.
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