Endeavor Award finalists named

“We have sought and we have found the very best and most dedicated volunteer pilots in America,” said Mark Wolper, president of The Wolper Organization at Warner Bros. and chair of the Endeavor Awards Host Committee. “Among many pilots nominated by their colleagues and organizations, 12 finalists have been selected for consideration by the Gala Host Committee to receive one of three Endeavor Awards for 2014, honoring and celebrating major contributions to Public Benefit Aviation.”

The Endeavor Awards will be announced May 4, during the inaugural awards event held in the Samuel Oschin Space Shuttle Endeavour Pavilion at the California Science Center.

Finalists are:

  • Andrew Baird, Children’s Flight of Hope, South Eastern Region. “My first mission was for a 10-year-old with brain cancer who has been an inspiration to me ever since.”
  • Bruce Bromberg, Vital Flight, South Eastern Region. A colleague spoke about Bruce, “He remains dedicated to the individuals he flies and will rearrange his schedule in order to fly them again.”
  • Joe DeMarco, Wings Flights of Hope, North Eastern Region. “We were greeted on landing with embraces and tears of joy and thankfulness by a mother and her young child suffering from a spinal tumor.”
  • Russell Ginn, Angel Flight South Central. “Flying for AF is a win-win situation.”
  • Jeff Hendricks, Veteran’s Airlife Command. “How thankful we are that there are those who have been willing to give so much to protect our country and freedoms.”
  • Joe Howley, Patient Airlift Services (PALS), North Eastern Region. “There is no other volunteer pilot organization that can match our transparency, efficacy and passion to help those in need.”
  • David Knies, Vital Flight, South Eastern Region. A colleague said, “David, who lives in northern Alabama began traveling to Florida on a regular basis to help build Vital Flight from the ground up.”
  • Jim Platz, Patient Airlift Services (PALS), North Eastern Region. “I am continually amazed by the courage, determination, faith, and positive attitudes that our patients show in the face of challenging situations.”
  • Kathleen Quinn, Pilots N Paws. “I was always rescuing wildlife and taking them across the street to be rehabilitated.”
  • Bill Rush, LightHawk, Nationwide Environmental Awareness. As one of his colleagues said about Bill, “He has often gone above and beyond, demonstrating his dedication.”
  • Mack Secord, Angel Flight Soars, South Eastern Region. “You can indulge your passion for flying, and give a hand up to someone.”
  • Phil Tholen, Veteran’s Airlift Command. “I have become inspired by the brave men and women I have met during my time with the VAC.”
  • Peter J. VandenBosh, Wings of Mercy, Mid-Western Region. “I heard a voice that said, ‘Peter, there is more to life than this.’”

The number of charitable flights is estimated to be 25,000 a year across the U.S.A. The Endeavor Awards are presented as the centerpiece of a campaign to raise general awareness of public benefit aviation and to spur the collection of data to quantify the importance of charitable flights donated by pilots and airlines.

There are over 100 organizations nationwide that arrange free transportation donated by volunteer pilots for humanitarian or public services. Some provide emergency flights; some give educational flights to children; and some fly doctors and equipment to international locations or focus on disaster relief.

The Endeavor Awards Gala is an annual event honoring the pilots, individuals and support organizations, corporations and government agencies most responsible for providing Public Benefit Aviation.

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