Pilot Scott Messinger Reaches Record 6000 Rescues Milestone




Philadelphia PA July 25 2016 — Clark Kent doesn’t look like a superhero until he takes off and flies as Superman. It’s the same with Scott Messinger, who’s day job is CEO of Eyeland Optical, a chain of 14 family-owned optical centers in Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania. To save travel time Messinger learned to fly and began traveling to work in a small, single-engine airplane.  It was the Fall of 2010 when the transformation  began:

… the dogs initially allowed him to lead them anywhere in the shelter, happy to have some attention. When the inevitable happened the dogs seemed to know.  As soon as they crossed the threshold into the kill room they put on the brakes and clawed for their freedom, seemingly knowing that their life depended on getting away.  

“I read an article written by a former animal control manager at a county animal shelter in the south.” said Messinger.  “The dogs initially allowed him to lead them anywhere in the shelter, happy to have some attention.  When the inevitable happened, the dogs seemed to know.  As soon as they crossed the threshold into the kill room they put on the brakes and clawed for their freedom, seemingly knowing that their life depended on getting away.  He soon quit because as he described it, the job was hurting his heart and killing his soul.”  That article planted the seed that changed Messinger’s  life, and saved the lives of an incomprehensible 6000 doomed shelter animals.

12196307_910385519017209_7597687290593878303_nIn the Fall of 2010, as a favor for a friend Scott flew from Philadelphia to a shelter in Louisiana to rescue some dogs that were about to be put down. Messinger recalls,  “As I travelled through the southern states I saw the same thing time and again; people were losing their jobs and homes due to the economy. They brought their pets to the airport and sobbing, placed them lovingly in the airplane. They simply could not afford to feed them, and wanted to be sure they would end up in a safe and happy home.

It’s the kind of thing that once your eyes are opened and you really see what’s going on, you sort of can’t un-know what you’ve seen; you can never get it out of your head. 

That very first day I learned that real love often means sacrifice.  I learned that often, bringing a pet to a southern animal shelter is a death sentence.  These shelters are often overflowing with dogs and cats that once knew the joys of a family and a warm bed, and are almost surely destined to be put down.”


The deal was sealed and the transformation to rescue hero quietly began. Messinger removed all five passenger seats and converted the airplane into a flying kennel, complete with floor-to-ceiling cages. In no time he was flying regular rescue runs to and from Louisiana, became a volunteer pilot for Pilots N Paws – an award-winning animal non-profit with over 4,300 volunteer pilots – and founded Eyeland Rescue, where he donates his time, plane and covers the costs associated with transporting rescued dogs to a new home solely through Eyeland Optical Centers, where a portion of every purchase goes to fund shelter rescue.


The past seven years have been chock-full of rescue stories that on their own are remarkable, such as that of “Miracle Dog” Daniel:

On a sunny morning in Alabama an animal control officer loaded five dogs into a steel box the size of a pickup-truck bed, locked the door and pushed the button that fed carbon monoxide into the sealed death chamber. When the door was opened 20 minutes later, a dazed and frightened 18-month-old Beagle mix lifted his head, stood up and walked out.


Pilot Messinger and volunteers prepare Daniel for take-off.

Rescue Pilot Messinger with Daniel.

He  was named Daniel, after the biblical figure who survived the lions’ den. Scott Messinger fell in love with Daniel, who was taken to Jackson Tennessee where he joined 11 other rescued dogs in Messinger’s airplane.  Scott flew the dogs north, making several stops before arriving at the Essex County Airport in Fairfield New Jersey where he handed Daniel to Eleventh Hour Rescue and a forever home.  Daniel was transformed from a near-statistic—one of the three to four million animals euthanized in shelters every year—to an ambassador for ending the use of gas-chamber killings. All in a day’s work for this super pilot.


Pilot Scott Messinger with one of his passengers during his record-breaking weekend.


Then there was the time Messinger transported 55 Dogs In 1 Weekend, a personal record. The trip stretched over 3 days and took Scott to Tennessee, South and North Carolina, Maryland,  New Jersey, New York and finally back to Scott’s home base in Philadelphia where they met the fosters and unloaded.


Pilot Scott Messinger’s record 6000th rescue. With Boone B.A.R.C. volunteers & fosters in West Virginia give rescued dogs a loving send-off.

Most recently on July 19th 2016 Messinger marked his “6000 Rescues Milestone by flying seven abandoned dogs from flood-ravaged Charleston West Virginia, facilitated by B.A.R.C. Boone Animal Rescue of Danville West Virginia to Northeast Philadelphia Airport,  where they were met by staff  from Providence Animal Center in Media PA who transported the precious cargo to safety and groomed the dogs for forever homes.


This happy saga of shelter animals and their rescue is far from over. Messinger has his eyes set on 10,000 rescues and beyond. He credits his wonderful Eyeland patients whom he calls “rescue partners,” saying their loyalty is what keeps the Eyeland Rescue plane in the air.


Media Contact:  Nancy Bragin email nbragin@mac.com

Eyeland Optical/Eyeland Rescue website:  eyelandoptical.com

Pilots N Paws website: www.pilotsnpaws.org

Eleventh Hour Rescue: www.ehrdogs.org

B.A.R.C. Boone Animal Rescue: www.booneanimalwv.com

Providence Animal Center (formerly Delaware County SPCA): providence.org







What are polarized sunglasses, and why should I wear them?



Polarized sunglasses have been popular for years with boaters and fishermen who need to reduce reflected glare from the water surrounding them.  Now that we spend so much time outdoors with such active lifestyles, many have discovered the benefits of polarized lenses and interest has soared.

Besides boaters, outdoor types who benefit the most from polarized sunglasses include skiers, bikers, golfers and runners, all who may enjoy a clearer view along with elimination of glare. These sunglasses can be used for driving and, in fact, can reduce glare from a long, flat surface such as the hood of the car or the road’s surface.

Polarized sunglasses also can be worn indoors by light-sensitive people including post-cataract surgery patients and those continually exposed to bright light through windows.

How Do Polarized Lenses Work?

Light reflected from surfaces such as a flat road or smooth water generally is horizontally cropped benefits-of-polarized-sunglasses_51e4de53141cb_w1500polarized. This means that, instead of light being scattered in all directions in more usual ways, reflected light generally travels in a more horizontally oriented direction. This creates an annoying and sometimes dangerous intensity of light that we experience as glare.

Polarized sunglasses: 

  • Reduce glare reflected off of roads, bodies of water, snow, and other horizontal surfaces.
  • Cut glare and haze so your eyes are more comfortable and you can see better.
  • Contain a special filter that block intense reflected light, reducing glare.

Though polarized sunglasses improve comfort and visibility, you may find some times  when these lenses might not be the best choice. One example is downhill skiing, where you don’t want to block light reflecting off icy patches because this alerts skiers to hazards they are approaching. Polarized lenses may reduce the visibility of images produced by liquid crystal displays (LCDs) or light-emitting diode displays (LEDs) found on the dashboards of some cars, or in other places such as the digital screens on automatic teller machines and self-service gas pumps. With polarized lenses, you also may be unable to see your cell phone or GPS device. Boaters and pilots have reported some problems when viewing LCD displays on instrument panels, which can be a crucial issue when it comes to making split-second decisions based strictly on information displayed on a panel. Some manufacturers of these devices have changed their products to solve the problem;many have not. *

Regardless of very few inconveniences, whether you are someone who’s constantly active under the sun, driving, jogging or simply laying under the sun, polarized sunglasses are the way to go  when purchasing new shades. Manufacturers such as Ray-Ban and Oakley have the latest sleek, attractive and technically-advanced styles for you to choose from.

Talk to your Eyeland Optical doctor about adding polarized sunglasses to your glare and UV defense arsenal. Your healthy eyes will thank you!


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