In photo: Concord ASN volunteer David Evans (left)
Apr. 30, 2004 - AOPA Airport Support Network volunteers are a vital part of the association's efforts to protect airports, so this past weekend, AOPA representatives went to central California for a meeting with several of the volunteers.
"These are the people at the pointy end in the fight to preserve our airports," said AOPA Vice President of Regional Affairs Roger Cohen. "They know what the issues are, and they know what they need from us to do the job."
Cohen and David Evans, the ASN volunteer at Buchanan Field in Concord played host to 28 volunteers from throughout central California during the half-day session. Along with AOPA California Regional Representative John Pfeifer, Cohen focused on communications between AOPA and the ASN volunteers.
"This is the second regional ASN volunteer meeting we've held this year. The first was in St. Petersburg, Florida, and it's uncanny how similar the concerns and the suggestions from two groups of pilots 3,000 miles apart are," said Cohen. "At both of the meetings, everyone focused on the tools, guidance and support AOPA can provide to help the volunteers achieve AOPA's top priority - protecting local airports."
Buchanan Field was chosen for the meeting both because of the concentration of pilots and airports in the San Francisco Bay area, and because it's at the focal point of a battle to close the field between a county supervisor and local developers on one hand, and pilots, civic leaders, and the business community on the other.
AOPA plans to hold two more regional Airport Support Network meetings this year - one in Ohio in June and another during AOPA Expo in Long Beach, California in October.
"These regional sessions have reinforced our view that the ASN program is a one-of-a-kind asset, unique to AOPA," said Cohen. "Other public policy organizations only dream of having a corps of committed volunteers - let alone the 1,600 passionate, articulate advocates that AOPA has developed."