Winging Supplies Across the Skies

How Louis Olsen takes philanthropy to new heights
Jan 5, 2018 9:00 AM ET

Inspired | Stories from Hormel Foods

by Mary Burich

Combining two loves is always a thrill. Using them to help those in need can put you on cloud nine. Or even above it, as the case may be.

That’s exactly what Minnesota native Louis Olsen did recently when he loaded his plane with the likes of work gloves, diapers and mosquito repellant – as well as 384 cans of SPAM® products – to aid victims and first responders of Hurricane Harvey.

Louis doesn’t have a connection to Texas, where the Category 4 storm did its worst damage in late summer 2017, but he’s neither a stranger to using his hobby to lend a hand nor to SPAM® products. Indeed, he’s been a licensed pilot for 16 years and routinely donates his aircraft, fuel and time to organizations such as Angel Flight, which helps seriously ill kids get to summer camps, and children and adults travel to out-of-town hospitals for burn treatment, chemotherapy and other critical procedures. When Hurricane Harvey hit, Louis wondered what he could do to help there also. That’s when he got involved with AERObridge

Lifelong SPAM® Fan

As far as the SPAM® brand is concerned, Louis has been eating it most of his life. (Just ask him about the SPAM® classic, PB and banana sandwiches his grandma used to make or his favorite pizza roll recipe that incorporates SPAM® products.)

“I enjoy SPAM® products. It lasts and it’s a food someone can open at any time,” he says. “I thought it would be a good food to donate and bring down.”

So, Louis set about raising $1,500 from friends and acquaintances for supplies for the hurricane-ravaged area. “Close friends Gary, Terry, Wayne, Shane and Doug aren’t pilots, but they wanted to contribute to the effort,” Louis recalls. He then contacted Hormel Foods to inquire about purchasing cans of SPAM® products for his volunteer mission and found a reason to love the iconic brand even more.

“They said they’d be more than willing to donate what I could fit on my airplane,” Louis says, adding that the contribution from Hormel Foods allowed him to use the money he raised to purchase “school supplies and other needed things for survivors.”

According to Louis, “They were pretty tickled pink to get the SPAM® cans. I had all different flavors.”

Adamant that he’s far from the only pilot using his wings to help others, Louis is without a doubt one of the Inspired Fans of Hormel Foods.

And a first-class one at that.