HILLSBOROUGH, NJ – Depends on the hour, depends on the day, but somewhere, somehow, Greg Burchette is making a difference.
Some know him as Committeeman Burchette, now serving a second term on the Township Committee; others know him as a “behind-the-scenes’’ guy, a member of the township Rotary Club who devotes hours upon hours of volunteer time ensuring their good works continue throughout the year.
Prior to his tenure on the Township Committee, Burchette was a member of the Planning Board for 15 years and served two years as chairman of the township Environmental Commission.
Others know him as a racing enthusiast who travels extensively with his son Jared to compete on the Kart racing circuit; father and son share a love for racing machines and the engines that power them around the track at speeds approaching 120 mph. Burchette is also known to customers as the owner of Bridgewater Motorworks, 358 Union Ave., Bridgewater. The shop specializes in rebuilding engines and transmissions.
He’s also a certified high-tech performance driving instructor.
Somewhere along the way, Burchette put in the time to qualify for his pilot’s license 12 years ago, and he’s since found a way to help others by offering to fly people with special needs for medical treatment.
“I just like helping people,” Burchette said.
Burchette is a volunteer with Patient AirLift Services (PALS), a volunteer organization that provides free air transportation for medical care, special needs camps, and other compelling human needs.
Many people cannot reach needed care because of the cost, or they are too ill to fly commercially or drive long distances, Burchette explained.
He’s been a PALS volunteer for 4 ½ years; before that he flew mercy missions with Angel Flight.
Burchette recently took off from Central New Jersey Airport in Hillsborough where he ties down his plane for Philadelphia, where he landed and met six-year-old Charlotte Childers and her mother Catharine. Burchette ferried the young girl and her mother on a 3.5 hour flight from Philadelphia to Leesburg, VA, close to their home in Blacksburg, VA.
Charlotte has been diagnosed with Willi Prader Syndrome and Severe Scoliosis, making extended travel complicated. The six-year-old often needs to travel from her home in Virginia to the Shiner Hospital in Philadelphia.
“PALS is a great organization, they work a lot with childrens’ hospitals, down to Philly, Baltimore, Virginia and out to Pittsburgh; they fly a lot of routes in this area,” Burchette said.
Burchette and his son are looking forward to summer, when the racing season intensifies. There will be more travel and more racing, but there will also be time for more PALS flights, he said.