My Sincere Congratulations go out to this year’s Endeavor Award Recipients! For me just to have been nominated along with such great individuals has certainly been an amazing honor for me! As I have mentioned before, everyone ends up being a winner with this event due to the great awareness and support these Awards bring to Charitable Flying all around the Country! I would like to thank each and everyone so much for all of the great support that came my way during my nomination!
Please take a few moments and read what these three amazing Pilots have done and continue to do with helping those in need. They are really amazing Individuals!
….. Lifeline Pilots …..
Wanda Bash Whitsitt is a person who was inducted into the Illinois Aviation Hall of Fame in 1986, a visionary, a wife, mother of four, grandmother, corporate pilot, ground school instructor, community volunteer, historian, President emeritus of Lifeline, a sage, and volunteer pilot. Foremost, she is an extraordinary person! Founded in 1981 as a result of Wanda’s vision, Lifeline Pilots is the oldest regional volunteer pilot organization, and arguably the oldest VPO flying patients in the United States. During her lifetime commitment to charitable aviation, others learned from Wanda’s experiences, which she openly shared, and today more than two dozen VPOs are flying coast-to-coast as a result. Wanda’s mentoring always focused on patients and their families above everything else. At 87, she remains active as president emeritus of LLP, attending board meetings and calls, and counseling others of us on the board, and others who seek it. Her tireless and selfless personality will be the model for others who follow. As of 2017, Lifeline Pilots has conducted over 8,000 missions and flown over 5 million miles with a perfect safety record. LLP is based at the Peoria International Airport, Peoria, Illinois, in the Byerly Aviation Terminal Building.
….. Wings Flights of Hope …..
KevinD’Angelo exemplifies what it is to be a giving and caring person. With a special inner drive, he demonstrates time and time again that he is willing to go to great lengths to provide volunteer services. He volunteers with both of his gifts: Dentistry and Piloting. Kevin D’Angelo has been flying compassion flights since 2000 and has completed nearly 150 flights over that time period with Angel Flight and then Wings Flights of Hope. In 2000, Kevin also started flying charity flights to Bani in the Dominican Republic to aid a charity group called Jesse’s Children and then in 2010 started the Good Sam Project flying to La Romana to treat the Haitian workers in the bateys (sugar worker towns) there. In 2002, he began flying with Remote Area Medical to Appalachia, and in 2003 started transporting students from University at Buffalo to help with the clinics.
In addition to those flights, for the past 20 years, Kevin volunteered to donate free flights for Habitat for Humanity, church groups, and many other charities to help fundraise for those groups. Kevin has completed more than 200 volunteer Young Eagles’ first flights, with kids age 8-18.
Kevin is passionate about giving back. Founding the Good Sam Project and volunteering for Wings Flights of Hope, Angel Flight, and Remote Access Medical Volunteer Corps aren’t the only highlights of his philanthropic career. Since 1981, as a member of the Guild of St. Apollonia, he has donated his skills as a dentist to people who couldn’t otherwise afford them. And for more than 10 years, he has organized and worked in free dental clinics in poor Buffalo neighborhoods.
An Adjunct Volunteer Professor at the University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine, Kevin not only provides instruction to dental students, for 18 years he’s provided the transportation, so they can treat indigent populations in Appalachia and third world countries. In addition to founding the Good Sam Project, he is the former president and current Chair of Missions for the Flying Dentists Association.
….. Angel Flight West …..
In his eight years as a volunteer pilot for Angel Flight West, Bob Schaper has flown an astounding 1,000-plus missions. He’s only the second AFW pilot to reach that mark. Bob’s logbook dates back to 1961. A few years ago, the Seattle Times feature article captured Bob’s enthusiasm when reporter Gabriel Campanario wrote, “Three or four times a day, Bob Schaper logs onto the Angel Flight West website to search for his next assignment. Schaper is so eager to fly humanitarian missions that in 2012 he broke a record for all 13 states served by [AFW]. He completed 210 missions – an average of four round-trip flights per week – flying patients to doctor appointments across the Northwest and delivering donated blood to a Puget Sound Blood Center collection point at Boeing Field.”
Like all of our pilots, Bob, who lives in Seattle, isn’t only donating his time for the missions. He also picks up the tab. Despite his modest income as a retired social worker, he’s confident his money is well spent. “It is expensive, but it’s a positive thing as far as I’m concerned. It’s the most satisfying flying I’ve ever done.”
My Congratulations again to these Amazing Individuals! …… Nevin Showman