AOPA’s Airport Support Network passed a major milestone recently and now has more than 2,200 volunteers helping keep tabs on what’s happening at airports all across the country. More than 300 new volunteers joined the program in 2010 alone.
The Airport Support Network is made up of volunteers who pass along information about their local airports to AOPA’s airports and state affairs staff in Frederick, Md., so that AOPA can, in turn, provide support and materials that help the volunteer be an effective community advocate on behalf of the airport.
“The most effective advocacy effort is the one that prevents a problem from ever occurring,” said Greg Pecoraro, AOPA vice president of airports and state affairs. “The volunteers of the Airport Support Network are vital to AOPA’s efforts for two reasons: They keep us informed of what’s going on at their home airports—the good and the troublesome; and at least as importantly, they live there and are part of the community and work to promote the airport to the public, opinion leaders, and decision makers.”
“Every additional volunteer helps us accomplish our mission to protect America’s community airports,” added Joey Colleran, director of the Airport Support Network program. “We ask all of our members to check and see if their home airport has a volunteer.
“If there is a volunteer, consider offering to help in his or her advocacy efforts,” she added. “If not, then consider volunteering yourself.”
Airport Support Network volunteers do make a difference. Working with local volunteers, AOPA has been able to prevent the closure of or restrictions at hundreds of airports across the country.