Erica Jesse, founding partner of Air Boss Colorado in Colorado Springs, helped take a hospice patient at HopeWest back to his small hometown. Not only did she get incredible video with her drone, but she also sent the patient a book with images of the old (no longer standing) schoolhouse that was recommended when she stopped in the town's (tiny!) post office and asked locals for help (check out the complete story below)! Erica's efforts to make sure this patient saw these meaningful images he requested was inspiring, and we are so grateful for her help.
Here's some more information about Erica Jesse:
What made you start your business, and what services do you offer?
In college, I minored in videography and wanted to find a way to be able to use that in the workforce. My dad started doing research into drones for his job, and in the process of helping him, I discovered just how much drones can do! Together we started Air Boss Colorado. At the moment, we focus on real estate. We're lucky enough to live in a beautiful state that is even more awe-inspiring when seen from a drone's perspective.
What's your favorite "drone story?"
My favorite drone story would actually have to be my first assignment for Flight to Remember. The first person I told about the job was my 88-year-old grandmother. The first thing she did was grab her massive map of Colorado and try to find the town the patient asked to see. The route from Colorado Springs, where we both live, happened to go through the area where my grandma was raised, and where her sister still lived. She asked me if she could tag along for the shoot and if we could pick up her 81-year-old sister as well.
Our destination was about 2 hours away, so we left bright and early. We picked up my great aunt about an hour into the journey, and as we kept encountering towns, no matter how small, they had a story about how their uncle or cousin used to own that house, or how everyone from this town would come to theirs for all the dances. Eventually the stories ran out as we got further east than either of these ladies had ever before adventured. Finally, we reached our destination, and as we drove through it, I was disheartened to see that I could not find the building that the patient had requested. I saw that there were a few people in the post office, so I decided to go in and ask if anyone knew about this building. All three of us went inside this small post office, and up to the counter where I asked the elderly woman behind it if she had lived in the town long herself. She was only filling in at the post office that day and lived about half an hour south, but she told me that her husband might know where the building had been and that he was on his way right now. I asked if we could wait for him in the post office, and she agreed. As we talked about the history of the town, she pulled out a heavily sticky-noted book about the history of the county in which this town was located from behind the counter. The book had a couple of pictures of buildings that might have been the one for which I was looking, but she didn't know where they would have been. While we were waiting for her husband, two other locals came into the post office, and tried their best to remember this building, but to no avail. However, they were adamant that if anyone were to know, it would be the proprietor of the gas station a few blocks down. Eventually, the woman's husband arrived. He agreed with me that the building I had been looking for was indeed featured in the book, but it had been torn down a long time ago. I asked him if he knew where the building had been so that I might at least get footage of the surrounding area, but all he could tell me was that if anyone knew, it was the man at the gas station. As I left the post office in search of this man I asked if I could borrow the book to show the people at the gas station, and I told the weathered husband "If you see a drone flying around, don't shoot it!" He gave me a wink as I left. There were four other people in the gas station, and as we entered, someone jokingly said "well they look like trouble," which pleased my grandma and her sister to no end. I asked for the man, and he happened to be the one who had commented upon our arrival. I told him what I was looking for and showed him the book, but unfortunately he could not remember where the building had been. Everyone else in the gas station had overheard our conversation and as much as they wanted to be of help, none of them knew either. I returned to the post office, located on Main Street, and decided to get a few minutes of footage of it and a few of the other older buildings of which the townspeople told me before returning the book. My grandma and great aunt sat in the car as I got out my drone. I had only been in the air for a few minutes, and was right in the middle of recording, when my grandma opened the car door and beckoned me towards her. When I got to the car, she said in a low whisper, "there's a man pointing a gun at the drone!" I laughed it off and assured her that he was just trying to mess with us. I finished getting the footage I wanted, and went back to the post office to return the book. The husband had the biggest grin on his face while I scolded him for scaring the two little old ladies in my car. Even though I was unable to get footage of the building the patient wanted, I was very moved by how much every person I encountered wanted to help me on my mission.
Why do you like flying drones?
Drones are cool and fun. Need I say more?
Why did you agree to help Flight To Remember?
I agreed to help Flight to Remember because when my grandpa was in hospice care, he had a lot of family and friends surrounding him in his last few days. Not everyone has that opportunity though and Flight to Remember is a great way to utilize my talent to bring comfort to people who are suffering.
To contact Erica or get more information about Air Boss Colorado, please visit http://airbosscolorado.com/
To learn more about volunteering with Flight To Remember or to sign up as a volunteer, you can visit www.flighttoremember.org/pilots