Businessman hopes skywriting will change lives and mindsets
NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – In New Orleans, random acts of kindness have been taken to a new level in an effort to prove that good will triumph over evil.
Good Samaritan and New Orleans business owner Frank Scurlock says he's just trying to remind people that goodness will prevail if you let it.
He hired a Kentucky-based skywriter, Nathan Hammond, to spread some joy over the city for 10 days.
"The weather is gorgeous. This is what we dream for. Bluebird skies, cool weather," says Hammond.
Hammond is one of only a handful of professional skywriters in existence. He has a conference call with Scurlock twice a day, to determine the content and location for the day's positive messages in the sky.
"It's crazy actually, my phones are blowing up. Social media is blowing up. The media is blowing up. It's been phenomenal," says Scurlock.
For Hammond, this is a much bigger job than usual.
"Normally we do 'Will you marry me?' or 'Eat at Joe's,' so when he said we want to do 10 days and three messages a day, it took us off guard a little bit," says Hammond.
Since skywriters are allowed to turn off their radios for better concentration, Hammond says he works directly with Air Traffic Control when he's flying.
"They still see me on the radar, but I don't have any distractions coming in, no noise coming in through the headset or anything like that, so that I can focus strictly on what I'm doing and make sure that the message is where it needs to be, when it needs to be, pointed in the right direction and spelled correctly," he adds.
What's the cost of all this philanthropic flying? So far, the bill is between $20,000 and $25,000. The last flight is scheduled for Sunday. Hammond says he'll also be decorating the sky over Baton Rouge sometime soon.
Charla Miller works with the man behind the messages and she says her boss has even bigger plans.
"He has a big concern for the violence that has been going on locally and nationally, and this has both a local scope and hopefully a future national scope for him too with the skywriting," says Miller.
Through his non-profit, Noigiler ("religion" spelled backwards), he hopes to raise enough money to purchase the plane, Sky Magic, so that he can continue to share the love from above in cities across the country. A Go Fund Me account has been started in order to meet that goal. Click here to help.