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Updated Feb 7, 2014 - 8:21 am

Mesa mayor celebrates birthday with flight to Yuma

PHOENIX -- Mesa Mayor Scott Smith is giving back on his birthday this year.

The gubernatorial hopeful turns 58 on Friday and to celebrate, he is taking his plane for a whirl to Yuma.

Smith said many don't realize it, but he's been a pilot for the better part of a decade.

"I'm sure it's probably a surprise to many people that I fly a plane, but I love it," he said. "It's one of my great passions."

But this year, Smith won't be taking just any ordinary trip. Instead, he will leave Falcon Field in Mesa, before sunrise, to transport a special payload of blood.

"United Blood Services delivers the blood platelets to Falcon Field, I put it in my plane, takeoff and in my plane it's a short 57- or 58-minute flight from Mesa to Yuma," he said.

From there, the Yuma Regional Medical Center will use the blood for patient care.

Smith noted the flight is part of a group called Flights for Life.

"It's a group of several dozen pilots that donate their time and their planes to fly blood and blood products around the state for United Blood Services," he said.

He added that he is glad to help out the organization.

"We get to give service, we get to do something that really has an impact on people's lives and we get to fly around this great state," Smith said. "It's so beautiful from the air and especially early in the morning."

Smith should land in Yuma around 8:30 a.m. Friday.

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About the Author


A southern California native, Mark Remillard began working in radio in 2010 while in community college as a host of late night and weekend programming for publicly supported 88.5 FM KSBR. While working through college, Mark also interned for the Bill Handel Radio Program at Los Angeles' KFI AM640, where he began his work in journalism. Mark moved to Arizona in August 2012 to finish his bachelor's degree at Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and graduated in August 2014. Mark began working as a reporter for KTAR in November 2012.

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