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Fri, Jul 15, 2011

Charity Flights Honored For Public Service

Special Olympics Airlift, Medical Flights Receive 2011 Public Benefit Flying Awards

The National Aeronautic Association (NAA), in partnership with the Air Care Alliance, a nationwide league of humanitarian flying organizations, has announced the recipients of the 2011 National Public Benefit Flying Awards. They are: 

  • Distinguished Volunteer Pilot – Dr. Lewis Young has provided more than 700 flights since 2001 for Angel Flight Central, a volunteer organization that provides long-distance transportation at times of personal and community crisis.
  • Distinguished Volunteers – Dick Gooch has provided volunteer services for Angel Flight Central for over 14 years as a volunteer staff member, outreach ambassador, board member, and advocate for patients, pilots and staff. Larry Lemke’s extraordinary Wings of Hope program, which he joined in 1995 and has chaired since 2004, provides humanitarian efforts worldwide. Lemke has flown more than 1100 U.S. flights and worked more than 7,000 hours in charitable efforts providing advanced health care to impoverished people.
  • Outstanding Achievement in Public Benefit Flying – For more than 25 years Bruce Robin Stoddard and Wright Flight have used the powerful motivator of aviation to help America’s children stay in school and attain higher personal and educational goals.  Relying almost entirely on volunteer teachers, pilots, and ground crews, the program currently operates in nine states and has more than 20,000 graduates.
  • Champion of Public Benefit Flying – In July 2010, the Citation Special Olympics Airlift capped a two-year planning effort led by Cessna Aircraft Company, involving more than 200 employee volunteers and some 160 volunteer Cessna Citation business jets to provide transportation for Special Olympics athletes from around the country to the quadrennial Special Olympics USA National Games.

“I am very proud of the recipients of the 2011 Public Benefit Flying Awards,” said NAA President and CEO Jonathan Gaffney.  “All of the nominations were worthy, but the list of our honorees demonstrates again the diversity of public benefit flying in America and the many different people who benefit from it.”

Air Care Alliance Chairman Rol Murrow notes, “Each year thousand of volunteers in aviation quietly work to fly patients for care, provide educational flights for youth, support environmental causes, serve in times of emergencies, help our veterans, and provide help in many other ways to those in need.  Along with NAA, we are pleased to be able to work with leaders in our Nation’s capitol to honor these selfless individuals, their groups, and those who provide essential support for them.”

The Public Benefit Flying Awards were created to honor volunteer pilots, other volunteers, and their organizations engaged in flying to help others, and those supporting such work. Since 2003, dozens of awards have been presented at the celebratory Above and Beyond Awards Ceremony, which this year will be held on Thursday, September 15, 2011, in the Lyndon B. Johnson Room of the U.S. Senate.



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