Allen M. Hornblum, a Philadelphia-area author, had an idea a few months back to have a plane fly over Center City to thank health-care workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
He approached two friends for help and all agreed it was a good idea. But it never really got off the ground for various reasons.
Then, during the fall surge in cases, the men rekindled the idea for the holidays.
On Wednesday, a plane will fly from the Delaware River to the Schuylkill River, and Vine Street to South Street, from 1 to 1:30 p.m. towing the banner: “Philly Loves Its Doctors & Nurses.”
“We’ve been talking about the problems and our great respect and admiration for our doctors and nurses who are putting themselves on the front lines,” said Hornblum, 73. “I said, ‘Let’s do something for them in the Yuletide season.”
Hornblum, who lived in Philly until last year when he moved to Huntingdon Valley, will split the cost with Erich Prince, editor of online magazine Merion West, and a third donor who wants to remain anonymous.
The trio plans to watch from Dilworth Plaza.
Hornblum and Prince met during an interview for a story on one of Hornblum’s books. The two became friends.
Hornblum was profiled in the Inquirer last year about his forthcoming novel on what was known as the Klondike “bake-oven” — a small, concrete isolation block at a Philadelphia prison where 23 men were put during a 1938 heat wave, resulting in four deaths.
“Like everybody else we feel for health-care workers,” said Prince, of Lower Merion.
Hornblum called Prince recently noting the resurgence of COVID-19 cases.
“He said, ‘Look at these numbers!’ Prince recalled. “I said, yes, this is the time to do something. There are so many hospitals in the Philadelphia area. We had the idea that a plane could hit so many of those hospitals … Jefferson, Penn, Veterans.”
After calling around to a number of companies to price out the flyover, the group settled on Flysigns Aerial Advertising, a national banner towing outlet. The group chose not to disclose the cost.
“Eventually, we found an outfit that seemed like a great fit,” Prince said.