July 11, 2012
By Benét J. Wilson
The National Aeronautic Association and the Air Care Alliance have named the recipients of the 2012 National Public Benefit Flying Awards. The awards were created to honor volunteer pilots, other volunteers, and organizations engaged in flying to help others, along with those supporting such work.
Bob Showalter – of Showalter Flying Services and a member of the AOPA Foundation’s board of visitors – was recognized for outstanding achievement in public benefit flying for his support in times of national and international crisis, such as relief work following the Haitian earthquake and Hurricane Irene.
Susan Lapis of SouthWings and Del Reiff of Wings of Hope were named distinguished volunteer pilots. Lapis was lauded for her efforts to protect the natural heritage, communities and ecosystems of the Southeast, while Reiff got the nod for nearly 4,000 hours of flying in the name of solving the causes of poverty and isolation.
In the distinguished volunteers category, Debi Boise was recognized for creating Pilots N Paws, a national organization that transports rescue animals from kill shelters to new homes. Larry Scheffler of Miracle Flights for Kids was recognized for his efforts to improve the quality of community life for sick children.
The Lightspeed Aviation Foundation received the champion of public benefit flying award for its significant contribution of creating a support system that helps groups involved in public benefit flying.
The awards will be presented at a special ceremony on Sept. 13, 2012, in the Lyndon B. Johnson Room of the U.S. Senate in Washington, D.C. Nominations are now open for the 2013 Public Benefit Flying Awards. For more information, visit www.naa.aero or www.aircareall.org.
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