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Angel Flight West Recognizes Northern California Pilots at AFW 24th Anniversary Awards

MONTEREY, Calif., Oct. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Angel Flight West (AFW) awarded The Distinguished Pilot award to Oakland resident John Birely at AFW's 24th Anniversary Awards on Saturday, September 29th. Birely completed 37 Angel Flight West missions over the past year. As an AFW pilot, John flies people in need whose non-emergency health care problems require that they travel to and from medical facilities. Birely, like all AFW volunteer pilots, donates the cost of all the missions he flies. His flights include transporting a five year-old Reno boy for cancer treatment in Oakland, a teenager receiving treatment for spina bifida, and a woman traveling from Quincy to Duarte receiving chemotherapy for breast cancer, all whom could not fly commercial airlines due to health and funding.

Two Northern Californians receiving the Wingman Award include pilot and Pleasanton's Robert Strawn and Sacramento's Jerre McClelland. Strawn and McClelland generously flew 30 and 29 missions respectively. Robert flies a Cessna 172 and Jerre a Cessna 182; together they combined to fly missions ranging from transporting children with life threatening illnesses to special needs camps, to flying a Grass Valley man suffering from leukemia to Stanford for treatment. Birely, Strawn, and McClelland are just three of 410 Northern California pilots who in the aggregate have flown over 821 missions this year totaling 2,053 hours of volunteer flying, 246,300 miles flown and $451,550.00 in volunteer pilot in-kind donated costs.

Also receiving special recognition were Monterey's Warren Wood and Skip Armstrong. Retired Navy Admiral Skip Armstrong was the Keynote Speaker during the celebration and also serves as an AFW pilot and board member. Another frequent-flying AFW pilot, Warren Wood was honored for his service as Chairman of the Board for two, two-year terms and his untiring leadership than spans nearly 10 years for AFW.

Executive Director Michael Nanko recognizes the valuable support from the entire Northern California Wing of Angel Flight West. He says, "The flights and services donated by our Northern California pilots are invaluable. These pilots of purpose who fly out of passion and their compassion to help those in need are impressive. They truly make a difference to the residents of Northern California and surrounding states. With the combined efforts of all these remarkable individuals, Angel Flight West has become the charitable aviation organization of choice in Northern California."

SOURCE Angel Flight West
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