Giving Kids Wings Flight Academy students Derek Ortiz and Vivian Mason joined founder and executive director Dan Mikkelsen and guest Mayra Harris for the first annual Endeavor Awards dinner underneath the Endeavour Space Shuttle. The Endeavor Awards celebrated the efforts of volunteer pilots who made a major difference in the lives of individuals in need. The GKWFA invitees were able to attend thanks to the generosity of Angel Flight West.
The night began with Hors Devoirs and cocktails underneath the Cassini-Huygens probe and alongside the original Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo space capsules on the second floor of the Science Center. The GKWFA attendees enjoyed conversation with many supporters of the aviation industry, including Maxine Scheer, the President of Scheer Intelligence. Scheer, and Embry Riddle Graduate, is a specialist in airport design and planning and has traveled worldwide in the course of her career.
Dinner was held underneath the shuttle Endeavour, whose mammoth size cannot be fully appreciated until viewed in person. The shuttle Endeavour flew 25 successful missions and was retired from service in May of 2011. The California Science Center at the University of Southern California won a successful bid to give the retired space shuttle a permanent home. The shuttle made its final piggy-back flight to Los Angeles International Airport in September of 2012 and received major media attention as it was driven down the streets of Inglewood on its way to the Science Center.
The evening made a big impression on student Vivian Mason. “This event really changed my perspective and made me think more deeply about becoming a pilot. I now feel that flying has no real limits and that you are more free when you are up in the air rather than being on the ground.”
The 2014 Endeavour Award winners included Jeff Hendricks, Joe Demarco, Sr., and Joe Howley. Mr Hendricks is a volunteer pilot for Veteran’s Airlift Command (VAC) and Angel Flight West who has used his Lear jet on 24 missions covering over 67,000 miles in 2013. Mr. Demarco is the founder of Wings Flights of Hope, which provides transportation for patients in need of urgent medical care. Mr Howley is Co-founder, President, and Chairmen of the Board of Directors at Patient Airlift Services and has flown over 500 missions during the past 15 years.