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Angel Flight West Recognizes Colorado Pilots and Supporters at AFW 24th Anniversary Awards

MONTEREY, Calif., Oct. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Angel Flight West (AFW) awarded The Distinguished Pilot award to Durango pilot Dr. James Irish at AFW's 24th Anniversary Awards on Saturday, September 29. Dr. Irish completed 18 Angel Flight West missions over the past year. As an AFW pilot, he flies people in need whose non-emergency health care problems require that they travel to and from medical facilities. Dr. Irish, like all AFW volunteer pilots, donates the cost of all the missions he flies. His flights include transporting a child with diabetes to Denver Children's Hospital for treatment, flying one of his own patients with breast cancer to Denver for a lumpectomy, and transporting a Durango man to Scottsdale for a hip-replacement surgery.

As AFW Colorado Wing Leader Walter Berger says, "Jim is a remarkable individual who graciously uses his skills as an accomplished pilot to provide flights for people who would otherwise not be able to afford the travel to get the health care they need. As a doctor himself, he is keenly aware of the need to insure that patients get the proper treatment they need." Dr. Irish is just one of 165 active Colorado pilots that fly for Angel Flight West. Since 1999, Angel Flight West's volunteer pilots in Colorado have flown over 1,700 missions totaling 4,250 hours of volunteer flying, 510,000 miles flown and $935,000 in volunteer pilot in-kind donated costs.

Stephen Martinez, another AFW frequent-flying Colorado pilot was recognized with The Wingman Award during the Anniversary event. Stephen is also from Durango and his missions over the past year have included relocating a foster child to her adoptive home from Las Cruces to Durango to flying and relocating blood for Denver's Bonfils Blood Center.

Colorado area businesses were also recognized with awards. Denver-based KPK Company and its Chairman and CEO, Kevin Kaufman who is also and AFW board member, as well as Englewood-based Jeppesen Sanderson, Inc. each received the Golden Halo award for their support of Angel Flight West at the 24th Anniversary Awards. Valuable AFW contributors like KPK, Jeppesen, and others make flights possible as a significant amount of time and resources are needed to coordinate AFW missions as there is never a charge for an Angel Flight West mission. AFW pilots receive no compensation for any volunteer flight. Angel Flight West relies solely on public support to continue its mission.

Executive Director Michael Nanko recognizes the valuable support from the entire Colorado Wing of Angel Flight West. He says, "The flights donated by our Colorado pilots are invaluable. The pilots of purpose and compassion continue to provide more transportation for those in need to and from the state of Colorado. Our financial supporters from the state are equally as impressive. With the combined efforts of all these remarkable individuals and organizations, Angel Flight West has become the charitable aviation organization of choice in the great state of Colorado."

SOURCE Angel Flight West
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