The National Aviation Hall of Fame (NAHF) has announced that its coveted 2022 Spirit of Flight award will be presented to Wings of Hope in conjunction with the 58th Annual Enshrinement Dinner & Ceremony on September 24, 2022.
Wings of Hope is a global humanitarian organization that saves and changes lives through the power of aviation. Programs and services focus on education outreach, global impact, and U.S. medical transport. As a twice-nominated Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Wings of Hope serves as a force for good in the international community. Sixty years ago, Wings of Hope began its impactful work by sending aircraft to Kenya to deliver vital medical care and supplies. Since then, they have continued to grow and increasingly assist people worldwide regardless of political standing, economic status, or religious affiliation.
Wings of Hope relies on a base of volunteer pilots to carry out the group’s mission. “The secret ingredient for Wings of Hope is our incredible group of dedicated volunteers,” said Wings of Hope President and CEO, Bret Heinrich. “From purchasing to pilots, our volunteers make profound contributions to our mission. I am humbled to accept the Spirit of Flight Award on behalf of our amazing volunteers, staff, board, and most importantly, those we serve.”
The NAHF’s Spirit of Flight Award serves to recognize organizations that serve a special need of the nation and set high standards for excellence in the utilization of aerospace assets.
“There is no higher calling than to save lives,” said NAHF President and CEO Amy Spowart. “To combine that with aviation is extraordinary. The Board of Trustees of the NAHF overwhelmingly and enthusiastically selected Wings of Hope from a list of worthy candidates. What set Wings of Hope apart from the other nominations is not only that they fulfill the criteria of the award, but also exceed it by sharing education grounded in their mission.”
NAHF Enshrinee Patty Wagstaff made the nomination of Wings of Hope. Wagstaff said, “I am proud to magnify the message of Wings of Hope. They serve without prejudice and offer lifesaving medical attention around the world. I also support their efforts to inspire the next generation of pilots, especially girls and young women, through their SOAR into STEM educational programming.”
Past Spirit of Flight winners includes the WWII-era “Flying Tigers,” the Commemorative Air Force (CAF), the Women Air Force Service Pilots (WASPs), NASA, the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), and the Boeing Company.
Wings of Hope will receive the award on September 23, 2022, as part of the National Aviation Hall of Fame’s 58th Enshrinement events. Over 600 people are expected to attend two days of events in Dayton, including industry leaders and several returning Enshrinees, including former NASA astronauts Charlie Bolden, Eileen Collins, Bob Crippen, and Hoot Gibson, aviation visionary and test pilot Clay Lacy, general aviation titans Dale Klapmeier, and John & Martha King. NAHF candidates Rhea Seddon, Ed Bolen, and Connie Tobias will also join the celebration this year.
The ceremony, led by emcee CNN’s Pete Muntean, features the formal installment of the NAHF Enshrinee Classes of 2020 and 2022; (The late) Second Lieutenant Eugene J. Bullard, USAF., (The late) Dr. Maxime “Max” A. Faget, Ms. Joan Sullivan Garrett., (The late) Captain Richard “Dick” F. Gordon, USN, Colonel/Dr. Paul G. Kaminski, USAF (Ret). (The late) Willa Brown, (the late) Joe Clark, Dr. Margaret Hamilton, Dr. Story Musgrave, (the late) Geraldine “Jerrie” Mock. For the complete list of Spirit of Flight awardees, see https://nationalaviation.org/spirit-of-flight-award/