AOPA President Phil Boyer (right)
presents the 2005 Laurence P. Sharples
Perpetual Award to Euel Kinsey.
Don't tell Euel Kinsey that you can't fight city hall. Kinsey did just that, facing down the mayor of Detroit to gain political and financial support for Coleman A. Young/Detroit City Airport (DET).
AOPA recognized Kinsey's efforts on November 5, presenting him with the 2005 Laurence P. Sharples Perpetual Award at AOPA Expo's closing banquet in Tampa. The Sharples Award is given annually in recognition of the greatest selfless commitment to general aviation by a private individual.
"Euel is a great example of an Airport Support Network volunteer," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "His efforts resulted in greater awareness of Detroit City Airport's importance in the community, and the importance of general aviation nationwide."
Kinsey, an AOPA Airport Support Network volunteer at DET, confronted a growing problem faced by many municipally owned GA airports: the lack of a local political constituency within the jurisdiction. Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick had proposed a citywide budget that would have cut $2.5 million in funds for the airport and would have eliminated about 18 of 23 city jobs - employees directly responsible for maintenance and operations.
Kinsey mounted a political and media campaign to educate the city council about the airport's importance to Detroit. He appeared on National Public Radio to discuss the airport's role as a gateway to the city for the thousands who attended the Major League Baseball 2005 All-Star Game and who will flock to the 2006 Super Bowl, and his testimony before the city council was widely covered in The Detroit News and other local newspapers. The city council later submitted a budget that included the $2.5 million and overrode the mayor's veto.
Updated: November 9, 2005, 11:43 a.m. EST