Finding opportunities to help others has a way of lifting your spirits no matter what else is going on.
Eduard Seitan of Romania came to the U.S. when he was just 19 and spoke no English and has been pursuing the American dream ever since. Almost 30 years later, he’s a successful restaurateur with ownership in 11 popular dining establishments in Chicago, Illinois.
Unfortunately, his restaurant group was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Two of their restaurants closed their doors for good, leaving their devoted employees out of a job.
Eduard was devastated by the “uncertainty” of the situation, and as he thought ahead to the winter months, he was filled with dread. He needed a way to get his mind off his troubles, so he turned his attention to two of his passions: flying airplanes and helping animals!
He has an old aircraft and calls flying his “happy place,” and now he’s spreading the joy! These days, he’s using his plane to bring animals from high-kill shelters to rescue organizations and safe adoptive families.
It all started two years ago when Eduard began volunteering with a nonprofit called Pilots N Paws, which pairs volunteer pilots with shelter animals. The program takes dogs and cats that are about to be euthanized to no-kill rescues and foster families.
Finding himself with more time to offer than usual, Eduard threw himself into saving as many dogs as he could. So far, he’s flown more than 40 adorable pups to safety!
In addition to raising his own spirits, these flying trips are inspiring Eduard to keep moving forward no matter what obstacles arise in his path. After all, the dogs have been through so much by the time they find themselves in Eduard’s cockpit, yet they’re just as sweet and trusting as ever.
“I think it does so much to your soul when you start volunteering, in general, for anything,” he said. “But for me, because of my love for animals, it makes me feel so good and so complete and so happy at the end of the mission knowing that I helped an animal to get to a better life.”
Eduard has extended his animal philanthropy to his restaurant business as well!
He and his partners started their own program to help their employees find their next foster or adoptive dog. The #WeFoster initiative also helps them pay for pet food and vet care!
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and powerless during times like these, but Eduard’s story shows that there’s always a way to use our unique skills and talents to make good things happen for others!
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