He was Saved by Mercy Flight as a Newborn Baby … now, he’s a Military Pilot with children of his own!

April 12, 2019

Written By

Mary Friona Celani

Mercy Flight saves lives.

We know that first hand. They saved my daughter’s life. But of course, hers isn’t the only story to tell. There are countless stories of survival.

Here is a very special one:


Steven and Debby of Gowanda were overjoyed by the birth of their son, Nathan. After a relatively routine labor and delivery, worries developed as nurses discovered abnormalities within Nathan’s chest. At just two days old, doctors found that Nathan had suffered a collapsed lung and required immediate medical intervention from a hospital with specialized care. Mercy Flight was dispatched and transported Nathan to Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, where doctors worked quickly to stabilize his lung.

Nathan enjoyed a full recovery and returned home days later. But as it turns out, Nathan’s first flight in a helicopter would eventually lead to many more. The interest for aviation that was sparked as a newborn only grew as Nathan developed into a young man. With his own rescue in mind, coupled with watching Mercy Flight zoom over his childhood home, Nathan decided that he too wanted to fly someday. Nathan graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in Spring 2010 and was selected to attend Phase One of Undergraduate Pilot Training.

Since the Air Force carries only a small fleet of helicopters, most students continue on to fly either fighter or Cargo jets. Nathan’s wish was to fly helicopters; however, he was slated to fly fighters instead. Nathan was granted a meeting with his Squadron Commander, and he told his story about how he is alive and well today because of the skill and professionalism of the Mercy Flight helicopter crew who saved his life twenty-one years prior. Nathan wanted to pay his experience forward and his Squadron Commander relented.

After a tour flying the UH-1N Huey, Nathan now teaches student helicopter pilots in Fort Rucker, Alabama. Now married, Nathan and his wife recently welcomed a daughter in to the world. It is with the birth of his first child that led Nathan to reach out and thank the crews that brought so much relief to his own parents almost 30 years ago. Nathan and his wife now have two children, a daughter and a son.

Talk abut full circle!

Mercy Flight saves lives – but they can’t do it alone. Their fundraising efforts are crucial. That’s where the community comes in!

Mercy Flight is hosting The Bash in June – so get ready for some big fun for a great cause.

Dress up in your best camo gear and get ready to party with a purpose at Buffalo Riverworks on Friday, June 7th.

The celebration will include drink packages and unlimited bites to eat, entertainment by NERDS GONE WILD in WNY, DJ Dovey spinning all night, a silent auction, 50/50 raffle, the chance to win a cruise for two, a spectacular fireworks show by Skylighters of New York and so much more!

This 20-year Buffalo tradition benefits Mercy Flight’s mission of emergency air medevac and ground ambulance transport and care. Every day, Mercy Flight is saving lives, both in the air and on the ground, with their helicopter fleet, ambulance operations and a Learjet, transporting patients who are critically ill or injured…WHEN MINUTES MATTER.

Tickets are limited and will sell out.

Your $75 admission ticket includes two drink tickets, unlimited food stations, free parking and all the entertainment.

Tickets can be found at www.mercyflight.org or by heading to the Facebook event site at https://www.facebook.com/events/1960642597565709/

Totally Buffalo is proud to be a Chinook Sponsor for the event and we will have much more on Mercy Flight and their mission in the coming days and weeks!!


About Me

Welcome to Totally Buffalo! My name is Mary Friona-Celani and I am the creator of this site! After spending 20 years in the Buffalo media, I moved on to focus on my beautiful family. Now, the time has come for a new project. I was ready for something new. Something mine.
I am born and raised in WNY and my pride runs deep. My husband, Scott and I are very happy to be raising our four daughters here.






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