Mercer Law Grad Flies COVID-19 Mission to Expedite Testing Results


Cadle posing with his plane after an Angel Flight mission.

The COVID-19 pandemic leaves many feeling helpless, but one Mercer Law School graduate found purpose with things being up in the air.

Ivy Cadle, Class of 2007, literally took to the skies as an Angel Flight volunteer pilot to speed coronavirus test results due to an increasing number of patients left in limbo.

“I just saw that as a real opportunity to jump in and help,” Cadle said.

The Georgia Department of Public Health reports the total number of COVID-19 tests being administered in the state sits at over one million at the beginning of July.

In some instances, patients waited more than a week for the results.

According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, one of the nation’s largest lab companies, Quest Diagnostics, said as the demand for COVID-19 testing grows, the wait times for results become increasingly longer as they try to keep up with the demand. In addition to helping with COVID-19 testing, Angel Flight also pairs volunteer pilots with people who need to quickly travel to receive proper care or have to go great distances for their treatment.

A lawyer by trade, Cadle became interested in planes in childhood after his father earned his pilot’s license, prompting Cadle to follow suit in adulthood.

“I just love to fly. I think it is fascinating that people can travel long distances over short periods of time while sitting comfortably and enjoying amazing views,” he said.

But Cadle wanted to do more than take in the beautiful sights from miles above the ground; he wanted to do something to help people during the COVID-19 crisis. As part of his missions, he has flown COVID-19 tests to Florida and North Carolina, speeding patients’ results.

“As an attorney, the best thing I could do to help the fight with COVID is to work from home and help my clients solve problems,” he said. “However, to help COVID-19 the fact that I just had to put a 40-pound cooler in the back of the airplane and go, that was such an easy way to help. It was just a no-brainer to be able to do something I already enjoy. To actually be able to take action and do something that was helpful on a bigger scale was very appealing.”

Meeting the requirements to be an Angel Flight pilot took a long time. Cadle clocked hundreds of hours of flight time and instrument training to certify that he can safely execute missions and transport medical supplies or people to where they need to be for treatment. He said that it is critically important he maintain his ability to be a safe and proficient pilot while balancing the needs of his career and family.

“It’s like anything else that if it’s something you want to do and you like it bad enough and want to integrate it into your life, you’ll figure out a way to do it.”

For now, Cadle plans to continue to find the time to volunteer for Angel Flight.

“I’m really just honored to be in a position to have access to the resources that you can actually do something.”

That means keeping up on his pilot requirements to fly and self-funding his volunteer missions.

“I think what’s so neat about it is that every time you go is a different experience. This is a tangible opportunity to pick something up and literally move it for a more timely response.”

Contact WMUB News Director Amyre Makupson at 478-301-5771 or [email protected].