Recognition for Volunteer Pilots
Every day, more than 500 volunteer pilots give life-saving services. They help in the aftermath of hurricanes. They provide free transportation to medical care for patients. They’re the angels of Angel Flight Mid-Atlantic.
Angel Flight Mid-Atlantic recognizes volunteer pilots at an annual event. The date: May 4, 2019. The event: Pilot Appreciation Day.
Signature Flight Support at Norfolk International Airport hosted the event. The forecast had called for rain. Luckily, the skies were mostly sunny without too much wind!
The décor featured a patriotic color scheme. Tablecloths in red, white, and blue spread across tables. Bunches of red white and blue balloons secured to the sign-in table with matching metallic ribbon.
In addition, special signs were placed throughout the hangar. Pictures of aviation pioneers stood on the tables. A cartoon plane with some “hangar coffee” had landed by the breakfast line.
The airport didn’t stop, and neither did the staff. From 7 AM onward, Angel Flight Mid-Atlantic employees were hard at work. Felycia, our Accounting Specialist, helped at the sign-in table. April, MJ, Sundae, and Gretchen, our Transportation Coordinators, greeted guests. Deborrah, Carla, and Keith, our development staff, showed guests where to go. Stephanie Singer, our Communications Specialist, took live video of the event for the Facebook pages.
Volunteers gave their time as well. David ran sound checks alongside Stephanie Bollmann, our Director of Operations. Wayne kept an eye out for two helicopters – one from WAVY-TV 10 and one from the Virginia Beach Police Department.
Around 10 AM, guests began to filter in – or in the case of the helicopters, fly in! The WAVY-TV 10 helicopter arrived first, the sound alerting everyone that the chopper was coming in. Its shining black rotors beat and sliced the air. The force of the rotors’ downdraft pushed the grass into waves and threw dust. Employees from Signature Flight Support guided the helicopter in for a safe landing.
Soon after, Daisy Troop 125 entered with their scout leaders. They donated 200 boxes of Girl Scout cookies to Angel Flight Mid-Atlantic!
Board members attended the event. Representatives from partner organizations, such as Victory Junction Camp and The Barry Robinson Center, also came. Local and state representatives showed up.
And we can’t forget the people who this event was all about -volunteer pilots and their families.
Let The Event Begin!
Robb Alpaugh, our Executive Director, welcomed everyone to Pilot Appreciation Day. A video showing highlights from last year’s event played. You can watch the video by clicking here.
The slideshow transitioned to a waving American Flag. Stephanie Singer led the National Anthem, ending on a good note. After that, Daisy Troop 125 recited the Pledge of Allegiance.
The Reverend Fred Poteet said the Invocation and Benediction. After that, guests enjoyed a gourmet lunch.
The Route 58 Delicatessen and Pepsi had sponsored lunch. Sandwich platters, soft drinks, and dessert trays ensured everyone could fuel up!
Volunteer Pilots of the YearThen came the part everyone was waiting for – the awards ceremony! The Pilots of the Year for 2018 are:
- Jim Monroe – North Carolina
- Cleve Benedict – West Virginia
- David Linton – Virginia
- Rob Schwartz- Michigan
- Roger Quinn – Kentucky
- Tony Schmidt – Ohio
- George Gates – Tennessee
- Peter Glassman – Maryland
- Steve Minton – Washington, D.C.
- Andy Diffley – Delaware
- RT Linsenbach – Pennsylvania/Regional
Coming in for the Landing
The event closed with a raffle. After the staff and volunteers cleaned up, Pilot Appreciation Day was over.
Thank YouSo many people made the Third Annual Pilot Appreciation Day possible. We can’t list them all in this article, but we’re grateful for all your help.