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September 12, 2013
By AOPA ePublishing staff
Cessna Aircraft has presented a $25,000 check to Special Olympics for its 2014 USA Games as an award for the organization’s partnership and support of the company’s 2013 Discover Flying Challenge.
“We are happy to award Special Olympics a $25,000 donation for their outstanding involvement and engagement with our pilot interns both on and off line,” said Single Engine/Propeller Aircraft Senior Vice President Jodi Noah in a press release. “On Facebook and Twitter as well as through their summer games and camps, Special Olympics gave our pilots incredible opportunities to get involved in their organization.”
In June, Cessna announced its second annual Discover Flying Challenge, where interns flew around the country "to gain altitude and gain awareness for general aviation, the Discover Flying Challenge internship and Cessna’s community partners."
Five charitable organizations participated in the 2013 Discover Flying Challenge—American Red Cross, the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Young Eagles, Special Olympics, United Way, and Veterans Airlift Command—in order to gain awareness for aviation and philanthropy.
Each organization’s logo was printed on the tails of the Cessna 172 Skyhawks flown cross-country by Cessna’s six pilot interns: Brian Dierks, Brian Simmons, Lawrence Howard, Lucas Worthen, Ryan Todd, and Stephen West. Organizations participating in the challenge were encouraged to engage with aviation audiences through the six pilot interns.
In turn, the six pilot interns interacted in person and engaged through social media with the charitable organizations and their audiences. Special Olympics earned the most likes and shares on Facebook, as well as the most retweets on Twitter. In addition, Special Olympics ensured that pilots had the opportunity to interact and engage with their audiences offline.
The donation was presented recently to Special Olympics 2014 USA Games at a ceremony held at the games’ headquarters in Lawrenceville, N.J. The remaining organizations received a $10,000 donation.
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