At its meeting in Gaylord, the Michigan Aeronautics Commission (MAC) presented its Award of Excellence to Matt Barresi, to the “Wings Over Northern Michigan” Gaylord airshow committee, and to retired Col. Jack R. Lousma.
Matt Barresi is the Gaylord Regional Airport director, located in Otsego County. Barresi was recognized for his outstanding contributions to the Gaylord community by promoting aviation activities that foster goodwill and showcase the value of the airport. MAC salutes his “commitment to community involvement and dedication serving as an active member of numerous organizations, as well as coordinating the annual airshow. He exemplifies the professionalism and character worthy in receiving such an award. These actions have had a positive impact on the region and help ensure the health of aviation throughout the state of Michigan.”
The “Wings Over Northern Michigan” Gaylord Airshow Committee was recognized for their tremendous organizational effort in hosting an outstanding event over the years, promoting aviation to new generations, bringing attention to aviation businesses across Michigan, and demonstrating that a broad cross-section of volunteers can bring exciting family entertainment. MAC recognizes the committee for the significant economic impact on their community through the demonstration of flight.
Retired Col. Jack R. Lousma received a special tribute from Gov. Rick Snyder and the MAC for “his commitment to our state and country throughout his career,” where he “exhibited the highest standards of citizenship, professionalism and leadership.” Raised in Grand Rapids and a graduate of the University of Michigan, Lousma has had a long distinguished career in aviation. Lousma retired from the U.S. Marine Corps, was a naval aviator, and was one of 19 astronauts selected by NASA in 1966. He served as a member of the astronaut support crews for the Apollo 9, 10, and 13 missions. Later, he was the pilot for Skylab 3 in 1973 and commander on STS-3 in 1982. Also in 1982, Lousma was inducted to the International Space Hall of Fame, as well as the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame in 1988. Throughout his aviation career, Lousma logged more than 7,000 hours of flight time, including 700 hours in general aviation aircraft, 1,619 hours in space, 4,500 hours in jet aircraft, and 240 hours in helicopters. The Michigan Business Aviation Association (MBAA) also awarded Lousma with their Lifetime Achievement Award for his “incredible aviation achievements consistent with his personal character.”
Every year since 1990, the MAC has recognized individuals and organizations whose innovative contributions have significantly improved facilities, operations or public relations for aviation in Michigan. The MAC provides general supervision of aeronautics within Michigan.