Sunday May 4, 2014 was the first annual Endeavor Awards celebrating public benefit aviation. Over 400 guests were in attendance at the Samuel Oschin Space Shuttle Endeavour Pavilion in the California Science Center to celebrate the good that aviation does. Highlights from the star-studded event are included below.
Veteran’s Airlift Command/Angel Flight West
When asked about why he is a volunteer pilot, Jeff is quick to say that he feels very fortunate to utilize his own good fortunes and passion for flying to pay it forward to those who need to reach medical care, and to our veterans and their families.
Jeff Hendricks was nominated by Veterans Airlift Command, a volunteer pilot organization which provides free air transportation to post 9/11 combat veterans and their families for medical and other compassionate purposes. In 2013 he flew 24 missions for VAC and has flown a total of 67,720 mission miles.
Many of his missions are coast to coast, a great fit for his Lear which he originally started flying for his fishing business in Alaska.One of his most memorable flights was flying Tyler Jeffries, a double amputee veteran, across the country from Washington D.C. to Ft. Lewis in Seattle to meet his unit as they returned from Afghanistan. Because of the efforts of Jeff and Veterans Airlift Command, Tyler was able to meet his unit standing up.
Joe DeMarco, Sr.
Wings Flights of Hope
Joe was introduced to volunteer flying by a friend. Joe was invited for what he thought was casual day of flying. Upon landing, they were greeted with tears of joy and gratitude from a mother and her child suffering from a spinal tumor. Joe was unprepared for the impact of this experience. He became a volunteer pilot in 2004 and has flown 1,165 missions.
Joe DeMarco Sr. is President of DeMarco Construction Management, Inc. and the Founder of Wings Flights of Hope.
Joe founded Wings Flights of Hope in 2010. He flies a mission almost daily and his wife, Diane, is the Mission Coordinator. Together with his son, Joe DeMarco, Jr. and 17 other volunteer pilots, they are on call 24/7 for passengers in need.
One of Joe’s most memorable flights was for a boy named Luke with a double-lung transplant. While waiting to go home from a hospital, Luke explained to the paramedics that his personal pilot was on his way. Joe says that being there for Luke as “his own pilot” really rewards him as a volunteer.
Patient Airlift Services (PALS)
Joe Howley is Co-Founder, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors at Patient Airlift Services. Joe says that his dedication to PALS “comes from seeing firsthand how much need there is and the qualitative difference we are making in people’s lives.”
Joe has been a volunteer pilot for over 15 years. He has flown over 500 flights for PALS and previously for another VPO. He has dedicated extraordinary time and energy to hosting fundraising events and making presentations to business groups and local organizations explaining the work of volunteer pilots.
One of the highlights of his experiences as a volunteer pilot was flying back and forth for two weeks during the Haitian relief efforts bringing doctors, nurses, engineers and supplies to those in need, and helping to reunite families.
Joe is also the President of the Pilatus Owners and Pilots Association. He lives in Greenwich, Connecticut with his wife Christine and their three children.
To learn more about the night’s festivities, please check out these wonderful articles recapping the event.
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA): Aviation Shines at Endeavor Awards
Flying Mag: Aviation Notables Honor Volunteer Pilots