The good work that AOPA members have helped to fund continues in tsunami-ravaged Southeast Asia. AOPA and AOPA members have donated more than $115,000 to Air Serv International, a non-governmental humanitarian organization (NGO) that uses GA aircraft to provide logistical support to other NGOs and relief agencies.
The money is being put to very good use.
"The funds donated to Air Serv from AOPA members are being used to pay for Caravan flights and some fuel for our seven helicopters," reports Air Serv CEO Stu Willcuts. "All of us express our deep appreciation to our AOPA partners for this significant response."
Air Serv's C-208B Grand Caravan is being used to transport humanitarian staff, emergency medical supplies, and rabies and tetanus vaccines to Banda Aceh, one of the hardest hit towns in Sumatra. The material is then transferred to helicopters for transport to displaced person clinics along the west coast of Sumatra.
In the first days following the tsunami, many members contacted AOPA asking what they could do to help. The association supported the majority who agreed that cash donations were what were most needed. Consistent with our aviation mission, AOPA identified an international, nonprofit humanitarian organization - Air Serv International - that has been using a fleet of GA aircraft for more than 20 years to bring badly needed logistic support, food, supplies - and hope - to millions of people in some of the harshest environments in the world. And AOPA offered to match the first $25,000 in individual member donations to Air Serv. The outpouring of generosity was extraordinary.
"From an aviation perspective, Air Serv International is in the midst of assisting in this disaster," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "Theirs and other aviation efforts are a remarkable example of how GA airplanes and airports serve as a vital emergency link for people throughout the world."
Air Serv International is listed as an approved agency by the USA Freedom Corps, the organization identified in public service announcements featuring former Presidents Bush and Clinton. Air Serv has historically been funded by a combination of government grants and tax-deductible private donations.
February 11, 2005